25 min read

Episode 1: Cockroaches and COVID

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On the first episode of the Alicia McKay Show, we talk…

  • International Womens Day

  • Cockroaches


  • Virtue signalling

  • News cycles

  • Short-term-ism in politics.





Alicia:                   [inaudible] and welcome to the first episode of The Alicia McKay Show. On our episode today, we meet producer Cam. We talk about International Women's Day, have a bit of a chat about virtue signalling, cover COVID, some cockroaches and I go on a rant about news cycles and short-termism in politics. It's a cracker episode and the start of many excellent episodes to come. Enjoy team.

                           [inaudible] good morning, everybody and welcome to the first episode of The Alicia McKay Show. I'm really excited and entirely underprepared and was just saying to produce Cam, "I'm not going to tell them I'm underprepared. I'll just get in and rock it," but here we are. It's all very exciting. It's a pilot episode and I'm feeling good. Let's just get into it. What I would love over the next 20, 30 minutes is as many of your comments and questions as possible because that makes my life feel a whole lot less like I'm just hollering into a black tunnel of nothingness. I'm coming to you live this morning from sunny Wellington where it is sunny again and quite frankly, Cam, I'm pissed off that it remains sunny again. As some of you will know, I have been in COVID isolation like much of New Zealand for the last...

                           Today is day 10, actually and so what I think would've been polite of the weather would be if it could have rained a lot more. What I've really battled with over the last week and a half is that it's been really nice weather almost all of the time, which honestly is very rude. I had these visions of sitting on the window seat and looking out the window at the rain and being like, "Oh, well. I wouldn't have been doing much anyway." That's what I needed but instead, I have been watching sunshine and beautiful weather. Hi Richard. Ah, very exciting to see you on here. What time is it in the UK? Is it nighttime? Must be nighttime.

                           So that's a bit shit. Now the good news is that today is day 10 for me which means that I will be out of isolation after today, provided I test negative and extra exciting news is that after the show this morning at half past nine, I'm going to go drive around in my car for three hours which is leaving the house. Now, does anybody want to guess why I'm going to drive around in my car for three hours after this? Rest assured, I'm not going to have any interaction with the general public. Oh, I can't believe nobody checked.

                           What's happened for me this week as well as having COVID, which has been very exciting, is I've actually spent the last two nights sleeping on the couch and that is not because I've had a fight with Cam because Cam's actually not here. He's isolating somewhere else but because two nights ago, when I went to go to bed, I walked into my bedroom and on my wardrobe, about to scurry into my... No Maddie. Flat battery's a great guess though. I like that. It was a cockroach. So it's not the first cockroach I've seen in my house over the time that I've lived here but it is the first cockroach that's been either upstairs and absolutely the first cockroach that's been in my bedroom. As you might imagine, I had a mental breakdown and slept in the lounge because what else do you do when you're home alone and there's a cockroach in your bedroom?

                           And very promptly yesterday morning called the pest control guy who said, "Yes, we can come in on Friday morning but you do have to leave for three hours," and honestly, I was more excited by that than anything after a week and a half of sitting in my house by myself. So, you heard it here first, guys. Friday, it's going to be a big day. So what's been going on in the world this week? Cam, why don't you jump on and say hello and introduce yourself to the [inaudible].

Producer Cam:       Hello everybody. I'm Cam. I am not in the same physical location as Alicia for infectious related reasons. I'm in the city studio, if you like. We call it Bowie because it's got the three David Bowies on the side and we do love hanging out here and the exciting news for me is I got my negative COVID test, PCR test, yesterday with means I get to go to Australia tomorrow which is pretty exciting.

Alicia:                   Yeah, I'm not bitter. Right, I'll get you to check yourself on mute there, Cam. We've got a bit of an echo. Oh, "Cover my plants," says Raywin. That is extremely important thing to say, Raywin. You might have noticed I'm into house plants. I have quite a lot of plants. I hadn't thought about the impact on the plants. I'm also hoping the cat stays outside but what can we do? Now, in other exciting news, speaking of the cat, some of you will know that I got a puppy recently and if I'd remembered I was going to bring this up, I would've prepared a picture but Cam might be able to disappear and find a picture of my dog while I talk about it. So, I got this puppy in November and it was a very Alicia McKay decision making process in that I thought about getting a dog for a few days.

                           "Maybe I should get a dog," and then talked to the children about it, the two youngest kids, and they got really excited, as kids do. I talked about getting a puppy. Of course they're excited and then after giving it a little bit of thought went, "No, it's probably not a great idea to get a puppy right now because I'm not home a lot and I'm busy and the children aren't here 50% of the time so it would be silly to get a puppy for the children." But then Harriet cried this particular cry with her little face and she gazed out the window and had a silent tear dripping down her face in a way that really upset me. So obviously, we got a dog. Turns out, having a dog is a whole thing. Oh, you're not on the screen, Cam. Oh, there she is. There she is. There's Ginger. Oh, look at that little face. Oh, she's beautiful. She's a beautiful dog. Look at her stupid little face. So I got this dog but very quickly realise that having a dog is a whole thing.

                           In the comments, if you also had this realisation after getting a dog, I'd be quite keen to hear about it. Turns out, because I thought, "I've had three children. How hard can having a dog be?" Turns out, it's a whole thing and so that was all a little bit irritating but in excellent news, my ex-husband, Hamish, if you're watching, hello, he's quite into the dog. He and the dog have quite a bond. They really get on really well and so every time he comes over to see the kids or to pick them up or drop them off or hang out, he and the dog are having a cuddle and hanging out and just loving life and it started that when I went away a couple of times, I dropped her in there for a couple of days and now she's basically like just another child with shared custody.

                           And so Sunday night, Hamish comes to pick up the kids and he takes the dog also and so now, not only do I have the cutest dog in the world but as of this week, I kind of have shared custody of the dog. Tell me that's not strategy. If that's not life strategy, I don't know what is. Yeah, Carla. They are a dependent and they're another dependent that shits in the house and I already had enough of them and I had [inaudible] over. I had left that part of my life. Anyway, what can we do? I have a dog but I have shared custody now so I'm quite excited. Hamish, if you're watching this, I know we haven't actually had that conversation but I feel like it's going really well. This week... What happened this week? We had, obviously, a lot of COVID, myself included.

                           I was quite surprised by how awful good it was. Love to hear your experiences in the comments because I think I had heard the comments about, "Omicron's very mild," and, "Especially if you've vaccinated, it's all very mild," and I think what my brain wanted to hear was, "It won't really matter if you get it. You'll be fine." I was like, "Oh, that was a lot worse than I expected," so I feel a bit ripped off and on day eight was still testing positive so had a big viral load. But the good news is that my children managed to stay COVID free, as did Cam by not being here which was extremely smart of him if we want to talk about strategy. It worked out really nicely. He's COVID free. He's going to Australia and it all worked out okay. So I'd be interested in your COVID experiences because I think what's interesting in New Zealand is that we had not had a lot of interaction with the reality of the virus.

                           We'd had a lot of interaction with, I guess the inconvenience that was caused potentially by people having the virus. So we've had a lot of lockdowns, obviously, a lot of restrictions on business and movement. The borders have been closed. The whole conversation's been framed around economic concerns. "How are our business going to cope? Will our tourism sector ever recover? How will we manage at work and at school?" That kind of stuff and I don't think there'd been a lot of focus, because we've been so privileged and removed from the reality of the sickness, on people get really sick and some of them get really, really sick even when they're vaccinated and they wind up in ICU and they are really unwell and we've been so removed from the reality of the sickness that the conversation had become almost entirely framed around life logistics and economic impact.

                           And I found that really interesting and let's be clear. The life logistics and economic impact, we're seeing it now. I don't know if anyone's kids have managed to have a classroom that doesn't have a bunch of COVID in it and my daughter's high school is now staggering the days so that every year group has a day that they have off because they don't have enough teachers to run at full capacity at the moment. We've got genuine concerns around staffing and the DHBs, more broadly. That one always gives me a bit of a giggle, I think, because we keep talking about locking down or COVID restrictions as though you've got the economy or health and the reality is that the economy is powered by healthy people and if there aren't people who are able to go to work and able to go shopping, you don't have an economy if they're crook and again, I think we are learning that the hard way.

                           Seeing a comment on the brain fog there. I can't speak to that as a symptom in my own experience because my brain's already quite foggy but I have absolutely heard that across the board, the brain fog thing. I think the challenge on my end is that after having three children, I'm at the point where I don't really have a good frame of reference for what a non foggy experience is anymore and so it does make the brain fog a little bit more challenging to get my head around. Yeah, totally, Raywin. We have been so protected and in some ways, it's made us a bit silly and a little bit out of the loop.

                           All right. So moving into a couple of segments. One thing I did want to feature on here... So I've got some big plans for The Alicia McKay Show. I want to have a lot of very cool guests and I'm got quite excited about that but one thing that's very important to me in my life is books. I read a lot of books. Stupid numbers of books. One of my superpowers, you heard it here first actually, is that I'm an incredibly fast reader. So I had a weird childhood and I was a weird kid and I didn't really get outside much. I was an inside kid until I was probably in my mid twenties and so all I did was read books. I can read around a thousand words a minute, which is quite a lot and it means that I can get through a book or two in a day quite happily and so the number of books I read in a year is insane.

                           So with that said, reading books is a huge part of my life and I've read a couple of books recently that on the International Women's Day theme I thought were particularly excellent and I wanted to tell you about. So the first of which is Mother of Invention by Katrine Marçal. Now, this book is so good. I know that Invisible Women is trending at the moment and that book is also magnificent and is currently being read in the other room but Mother of Invention, what I loved about this book is a couple of things. One of the reasons I love it is because it's extremely funny. Katrine is a magnificent writer. She writes for a newspaper in Sweden and somehow, despite writing for a financial column in a financial newspaper, is an exceptionally plain speaking funny writer. So I enjoyed that a lot but also this book is packed full of data. It is so evidence based, it is ridiculous.

                           She looks at the history of technology and innovation and puts this great gender lens on it and one of the examples that I loved was... I think a lot of you would've heard the classic suitcase and wheels innovation story essentially saying that we invented the wheel and that was fine. That happened 5,000 years ago or whatever. Then we invent suitcases so that we can get our stuff from A to B and for literally hundreds of years, we carry our suitcases, no matter how heavy they are and it took us 5,000 years to have a guy go, "I could put wheels on the bottom of this and just drag it along. Wouldn't that be a lot easier?" So that's the classic chat but she really dives deep into that story, and anyone who's read Nicholas Taleb will remember that as an example, and actually looks at the circumstances surrounding the uptake of that innovation and presents this brilliant point of view around actually one of the reasons that we weren't okay with making it easy to carry luggage was because only men needed to travel and it would be unmasculine to not carry your luggage.

                           So women didn't travel on their own and it wasn't until they started to that actually there was any traction, see what I did there, with the wheels on the suitcase and it was perceived as extremely non-masculine. There was no support for it and so that masculinity lens over something as basic as wheels on a suitcase held us back. Now, she looks at the invention or rather the uptake of petrol vehicles over electric vehicles. She looks at computer programming. She covers a whole bunch of tech and innovation stuff with a brilliant gender lens about what's missing or where history could have split in a different direction and didn't because the world's ruled by men. So this is an extremely good book. Highly recommend. Like this a lot and continuing on the International Women's Day theme and you'll see this has got a [inaudible] City Libraries label on it. Another book I read that I really enjoyed a couple of weeks ago is The F*ck It Diet, which as it says on the front, "Eating should be easy." So this book's by Caroline Dooner, who is also a journalist who wrote a book.

                           That's kind of my theme at the moment actually because I'm really into Trent Dalton and Jia Tolentino and a couple of others as well. But this book essentially looks at the way that primarily women, but not just women, are programmed into this lifetime relationship with food restriction and how insane the impact is on our metabolism and on our mental health and on our general health outcomes from being trapped in a cycle of restriction and then non-restriction and then restriction again and it's extremely good and very eye-opening to see how damaging that cycle is and it's an interesting one because we don't really have these conversations. We talk about body image pressure in social media, which I think is a really important conversation to have, especially I've got teenage daughters and I think about it all the time.

                           We talk about eating disorders and we talk about obesity but this general pressure and the majority of women have been trapped at some point in an eating restriction cycle in their life and if we're not, we're thinking about it and the impact that has on just how much of your mental and emotional bandwidth is dedicated to thinking about what you eat. Even if you're not restricting, you're thinking about how you're not restricting. It's just so damaging. Dieting is such a feminist issue and so that book was extremely refreshing, The F*ck It Diet, and presents some really cool data lead arguments as to why that is such a damaging way to live. Although, as an aside, she then wrote a book after this called... Oh, I can't remember. Cam, can you Google it? Caroline Dooner. Her second book recently came out and I was really excited about reading that and it wasn't really very good after that one was so good.

                           And also, and this is a shitty thing that I wouldn't mind actually picking at... So I read this book and I really agreed that this is just an excellent point of view and that we need to release this constant pressure and constant restriction on our bodies and our minds and our souls and then I Googled her, as you do, and she's really skinny and I don't know why but as soon as I look at this and I'm like, "Okay, she's written this book. It's really connected with me about her struggles with dieting and weight and self-image and the impact it's had on her life," and then she was really skinny anyway and I was like, "Oh, well that feels like..." I think I wanted her to be chubby. Isn't that weird? I think I wanted her to be chubby. It would make me feel better if she had that perspective and she was chubby. Cam, do you have any thoughts on that? Why do I need this chick to be chubby?

Producer Cam:       Possibly for congruence of message. There's something about the motivation that goes behind it or the hypocrisy or irony of expertise, maybe.

Alicia:                   I know and isn't that interesting because we're like, "No. We can only have an eating disorder if you're really thin. If you're an average size person who binges and struggles and whatever, then you don't actually have an eating disorder," which isn't true. You can be really overweight and have an eating disorder and in order to have a valid perspective on dieting or releasing social expectations, you then shouldn't have a body type or an appearance that conforms to what we are looking for in the first place. They're just unhealthy pressures in all directions.

Producer Cam:       And her other book is Tired as F*ck.

Alicia:                   Yeah. That promised to interrogate burnout and hustle culture in the same way that she interrogated diet culture in her first book and I was really excited about it but then it mostly was a memoir and kept talking about dieting. So I think she still got a bit to get out about that and that's fine but on the International Women's Day front, how did you enjoy seeing the explosion of content in the media and on LinkedIn for International Women's Day, Cam?

Producer Cam:       It was fascinating. Absolutely loved it. It was so interesting seeing how a topic like that can just totally swamp the feed and the thing that I found really interesting was watching the nature and different kinds of topics that people brought up and the extreme engagement that the good posts got. So, quite often, I think when you're scrolling LinkedIn, you see a big variety up and down of level of engagement in what you see and, at least in my feed, and I'd love comments about this, I loved seeing people I know post things that were quite vulnerable that got huge traction and that were not confessions but things that were really core to who someone was that were really landing and the vulnerability that was being shown was being received really well. I absolutely loved it.

Alicia:                   Oh, I like that. I think that's a great angle to have on it because my cynicism about things like International Women's Day is always that it becomes this corporate PR exercise and so you're right. The powerful comments that came through from International Women's Day was people that you know or feel like you are the same as sharing really personal stories and experiences.

Producer Cam:       Yeah. And I think what's beautiful about the way the feed works is that I can only assume that very, very smart people have written algorithms that know that that's what's enjoyable to look at and so, no doubt, there's a whole heap of content out there that wouldn't be as personally interesting but people recognise that what people enjoy seeing is people they know who are disclosing or sharing stories that have real genuine connection and human value and aren't that corporate image that you were talking about.

Alicia:                   Did you see the Twitter bot that was tweeting every time a company put out a corporate message for International Women's Day? There was a Twitter bot that was then tweeting, "Yeah. In this organisation," and tweeting their public gender pay data and so that was the thing that stuck in my mind the most. I thought that was amazing and I'm so torn. I'm so torn on how I feel about this. Absolutely, we need visibility of some really important issues around gender equity and representation and institutionalised patriarchy and invisible sexism that we don't have enough conversations about. I think that's so important but does it connect that tangibly to meaningful change? Rather than I... Do you know what [crosstalk]-

Producer Cam:       Yes, it does. Absolutely, it does.

Alicia:                   Okay.

Producer Cam:       Absolutely, it does and the reason I say that is because as someone who's been exposed to a lot of this stuff later than I would've liked to, it still has an impact so I love reading posts on a day like that and being silent and not commenting because that's probably the best way to approach it but just quietly absorbing it and genuinely it does. It makes a massive difference. I love reading about what's important to people that I didn't know before and heaps of that happens. I've seen there are multiple examples of people I know personally saying things that I didn't know or sharing an opinion or an experience or a reaction they have that I wasn't aware of. So personally, I find it extremely useful and it's worth putting up with the corporate [inaudible] stuff to hear the stuff that really matters.

Alicia:                   Okay, but... Great, it's useful for you as a man. Great. I'm so glad International Women's Day's helping you out, mate. Fuck.

Producer Cam:       Well, I'm not in a position to affect change in the areas that have been heard about but being aware of it and hopefully being part of a society that recognises it more is useful. Now, tangibly, what difference do I make today? Probably nothing. Is there a visible consequence to it? No, but like we often say, visibility's an important first step and the more you can have people aware of it, the better the needle can shift.

Alicia:                   Yeah. I don't know. [crosstalk].

Producer Cam:       And also Twitter bot. Fix the pay gap. Sure.

Alicia:                   I'm on the fence about this virtue signalling shit. Okay, yes. I think it's awesome that we can put a profile picture frame on to show that we support International Women's Day or Ukraine or kids who aren't having a good time in life and I'm yet to understand and I don't know. I don't have the data on this but since we have an increased uptake in people making social stances online and virtue signalling has become absolutely something that we do, have we seen any increase across the board of change when people get behind a cause? Maybe we do. Maybe we do and in which case, great, cool. And everyday people connecting with big picture issues and caring about them? Awesome. That cannot be a bad thing but I feel a bit yuck about it still. I don't know. I don't know where I sit.

                           I don't know where I sit on this virtue signalling thing because I think the news cycle's so rapid and so the causes that we feel connected to, we feel connected to for such a short space of time and, funnily enough, we feel connected to it generally for the time period that it's deemed relevant in the new cycle and the significance or the materiality or the size of our outpouring is absolutely connected to how much coverage it's getting in the news cycle at any given point in time and so yes, everybody is absolutely supporting Ukraine at the moment and we've got blue and yellow everything.

                           When we stop covering that conflict in the news, will we see the same level of outpouring? We saw a lot of feminist commentary about gender equity on International Women's Day and I'm sure we'll see it next year too. Are we going to see that once it's no longer in the media? I don't know. We had the protests that were the most relevant thing in the entire world for three weeks and now the chat's stopped because they've stopped. I know that I'm being cynical but I think it's really challenging to take some of this stuff seriously when it's such a direct mirror of the news cycle and just shows how vulnerable we are when it comes to what we care about and what we think about to really having that narrative dictated to us rather than something that we've come to on our own. Does that negate how important it is? I don't know. Cam?

Producer Cam:       I think the idea that, "You can't be what you can't see," is a really good one and I think when you see posts about conversations that people have had with colleagues, be they male, female or anywhere in between, where someone said, "Oh, I'm not happy with the pay gap," and a colleague and a person have approached the pay department and said, "Hey, we're bringing this up," seeing stories where someone has addressed a wage discrepancy and fixed it would hopefully give someone the courage to start that conversation themself and the signal to noise ratio of virtue signalling compared to actual effecting change, I don't have any data on that and I couldn't say. But anecdotally, what I've enjoyed is seeing people saying "Yes, the needle is shifting a little bit," or, "There are changes that are being made." Not enough and absolutely things still need to be done but if visibility is helping things along, then maybe you just absorb the part that's a little bit token or ineffectual or virtue signalling.

Alicia:                   Probably. Here's one that's... I think I'll just mute you shortly. Here's one that I think is interesting in what we think about. So you and I are having a discussion about the kind of content we want to start featuring on The Alicia McKay Show and we inevitably, as you do in a media environment, start looking at the split between what's evergreen content, in terms of issues that are relevant every day and you can talk about any day. So you and I can start shouting about virtue signalling any day of the year. That's going to be fine. It's going to be relevant. We're not going to be short on content but then you've got these cyclical things like, "Oh, it's flooding in Australia," so let's talk about environmental resilience and climate change for a week until we forget about it and, "There's war in Europe," so let's talk about international relations and be an expert on that for a while until it's over and, "Oh, the pandemic's peaking," so now we're all experts on border control and infectious diseases until it's over.

                           On the one hand, it's great that we can talk about what's happening in the world but on the other, we are so dictated to by external events that that takes up so much of our conversation, that the biggest systemic change that really needs to happen or the stuff that takes a bit longer or is a bit more complex doesn't get the same air time. So we get this kind of cheapened, shallow version of discussion around international relations and infectious diseases and climate change and gender equity because we just get whatever the news version is and then before we've had a chance to think much deeper, there's been another earthquake and we're away again. So I think we get kind of ripped off and actually you had a bit of an experience with that last week, Cam.

Producer Cam:       Yeah, totally and maybe turn your speaker down a little bit if we're getting echo. I was helping the department of internal affairs do a media briefing about a massive operation that's been going for two years and I got the call the week before and they couldn't tell me what it was about for security reasons and so we just knew that there was a press briefing. So we went on a Monday, set up a studio in their building. They'd originally intended it to be an in-person event with journalists but the COVID case increase meant that they'd changed it to an online event. We set up the studio and then on the Tuesday night, they said we can no longer use the studio on Wednesday. We can't use the DIA building on Wednesday. The whole building's going to be closed and we also can't tell you why.

                           And of course, anyone who was in Wellington last week would know that Wednesday was the day that the police came in and moved the occupation of Parliament lawns. There'd been there for, I think, 22 days. Now, the media briefing that I was working on was a major piece of news about child sexual exploitation in the digital space. Huge international effort, massive story and I was only coming in as the IT guy, the AV person, for the briefing. That day was completely dominated by the police removal of the occupation and the COVID cases. So a story that would've been huge front page news on a different day, it didn't vanish, but it was competing with so much other stuff that it slid down the news cycle and out of sight very, very quickly and it was really important stuff. Arguably, way more important than a lot of the things that were on at high visibility at the top.

Alicia:                   Yeah. That's such a gutting thing to me that there can be the work of years and years that has massive impact that touches on some really important issues in society and that affect our lives... Oh, nice. An action cam... And by virtue of the fact that it floods that morning or there's a big wind in [inaudible] or there's a couple of grumpy protesters, we just don't even get that visibility and did you keep an eye on the media coverage on the stuff, Cam? What kind of coverage did it get?

Producer Cam:       Well, what was really interesting about it was that these articles were all there but they were often seventh or eighth down the list of breaking news because there would've been three things talking about the protestors removal, COVID cases were massive, the floods in Australia were pretty big news here in New Zealand and so it was there if you went looking for it but it wasn't necessarily right in front of you and arguably, this is as important as any of those big stories. It just didn't have the immediate impact or perhaps personal reach that some of those other stories were having but it was fascinating being inside that situation while it was unfolding and seeing just how much work went into this huge operation that had half a day or maybe a day and a half of visibility.

Alicia:                   Yeah. And you can't time it. There's no way of knowing, is there, what's going to be picked up from one day to another?

Producer Cam:       No, and it was interesting hearing the conversation in the media briefing and amongst the DIA team who are coordinating a whole bunch of different stakeholders in their announcement and you can't just quickly change when an announcement is made. There's too many other things that are going on behind the scenes and so they just had to go, "Oh, well. We're just rolling with it." We could literally see out the window of where we were doing the media briefing the police moving the protestors was off Parliament lawns and knowing that was going to completely dominate the news cycle and you just had to go with it.

Alicia:                   I love your inside take on that one because I think we think a lot about the news cycle, what makes it and what doesn't, but having such a personal connection to something that's happening there, that's really fascinating.

Producer Cam:       Yeah. And what I'd love to do, hopefully if we can now, is at least use one of the banners that we made because I think Alicia rants deserves the title. So if you wind this into some sort of rant so that we-

Alicia:                   Yes. Yes, I can. Why, thank you. Yes. I can absolutely turn this into a rant. Please. Banner me up, producer Cam. I'm very impressed. Nice. Poor Cam's made all this great stuff and he is like, "I haven't even got to use any of it." So my rant on this one, actually, I'm glad you've invited me to rant, is that this is why we can't make progress on long term issues as a culture and as a government. And in the same way that a three year election cycle makes it very challenging, if not impossible, for our politicians to make progress on hundred year issues like climate change and economic transformation and child poverty, the news cycle makes it impossible for us to care about those issues long enough as a society.

                           And so there's some awesome researcher at Denmark that shows that our attention spans, they're not actually shorter than they used to be, although that is a bit of a meme about people and goldfish, but that they've compressed because the amount of information that's coming at us now is so condensed and so rapid and we're absorbing so much content in our daily lives, whether it's an ad on Facebook, a long form article... Oh, can I do another rant on the death of long form journalism at some point soon? A billboard as we are driving down the motorway, something that's happening on the radio, we've got a podcast coming, we've got texts coming through... The amount of content we are navigating on a daily basis has condensed so much that our capacity to really think about stuff has reduced, not because we care less or because we've got less of an intention span, but because of the density of what we are coping with.

                           So when we combine that political impotence of the election cycle along with the speed at which we get fads and trends and stories coming in and leaving and coming in and leaving as a society, how badly are we ripping off future generations because we've become incapable of taking action that has a sustainable impact? Who's the author of To Be A Good Ancestor? Actually, here's a good International Woman's Day victory. I can't remember the name of the male author who wrote How To Be A Good Ancestor but I can remember that he is the husband of Kate Raworth who wrote Doughnut Economics, which is another exceptional view and so I remember who's he's the husband of but not his name.

                           So that's a bit of reverse gender stuff there. So we've got some comments coming through. The Good Ancestor, Roman, oh, I can't say the last name. Good Lord. And so I've always had this theory. One of the Alicia McKay theories is that we need to shift the social and political norm or expectation around how we make voting decisions. So those of you that... Thank you, Chris, for the segue. Those of you that remember the election in 2008 will remember that it was, I'm pretty sure it was 2008, was the Helen Clark, Don Brash election where we were basically invited as a voting populace to go online and do these calculators because of the different proposals that they had for changes in tax and family support.

                           You would jump online and figure out which vote was going to save you the most money each week. So you'd be like, "Well, if I vote for Labour, I'm going to get an extra $22 a week but if I vote for National, I'm going to get an extra $25 a week," and so that was what was determining the vote and it became this kind of vote grab situation and we haven't seen anything quite like it since, I don't think, that was based purely around, "What will people at a particular stage in their life, today, get in their pocket to move them forward?" and it sticks in my mind as one of the most horrific examples of short term thinking in a long term space that I think I've seen politically in New Zealand because we are pretty lucky.

                           I think we need to turn that norm and expectation on its head and actually have conversations that go, "Ah, it's such a shame because I know that voting for this particular policy or politician is going to cost me money but that's not what we make voting decisions on. We only make voting decisions on what the impact will be for our grandkids. So God, it would be nice if we could vote for what's good for me today but we can't because that's not how you vote." So I reckon there needs to be a whole upturn in that assumption and that actually we only vote for what's good for our grandkids and that when we have potential legislative change go through select committee or go through consultation, the primary criteria is, "What's the 20 to 50 year impact of this bill?" We don't look at cost in the next five years. We don't look at impact in the next five years. We go, "Okay. But our primary criteria is, 'What's the two generation forward impact?'" and imagine what that would do for decision making across the board. So that's my rant and that's my [inaudible].

                           That's so good. It's very clever, Cam. I like it a lot. I have got probably 20 rants in the tank and so you are going to be able to use that particular feature banner a number of times. All right, everyone. We are wrapping up. This has been the first episode of The Alicia McKay Show and we will be back here next Friday at 8:00 AM. Hopefully, I will be able to let Cam utilise a lot more of his excellent segment banners by being slightly more structured in the way we move through the show and I'm also looking forward to introducing a couple of extra people into The Alicia McKay Show ecosystem because I think if we can have some interesting guests and features as we move through, it's going to be a lot more interesting than just looking at my face every Friday morning.

                           So thank you everyone who joined us this morning for the first episode. You are my guinea pigs and I appreciate you unreservedly. It has been an absolute pleasure and a privilege to take up some space in your life and in your very, very dense attention span on this Friday morning and I hope that you are out there staying safe, avoiding kissing strangers and generally staying COVID free. [inaudible]. Thank you so much, everybody. [inaudible]. (silence)