New Zealand made a lot of waves a couple of years ago when it began making some extreme moves against guns in response to a shooting in Christchurch. Most folks who have followed the issue of guns for any length of time knows that gun buybacks don’t really work, banning guns doesn’t help stop gun violence, and there’s always a new definition of the dangerous guns that the left doesn’t like in order to move that football down the field.
Well, if the people of New Zealand couldn’t have guns, they needed something to defend them. Christchurch is in the news again, but this time because they are now taking that next line of defense away from its people.
The official Wizard of New Zealand, perhaps the only state-appointed wizard in the world, has been cast from the public payroll, spelling the end to a 23-year legacy.
The Wizard, whose real name is Ian Brackenbury Channell, 88, had been contracted to Christchurch city council for the past two decades to promote the city through “acts of wizardry and other wizard-like services”, at a cost of $16,000 a year. He has been paid a total of $368,000.
I am all for smaller government, but defense spending is still important to me and this is a huge mistake on New Zealand’s part.
The Wizard, who was born in England, began performing acts of wizardry and entertainment in public spaces shortly after arriving in New Zealand in 1976. When the council originally tried to stop him, the public protested. In 1982, the New Zealand Art Gallery Directors Association said he had become a living work of art, and then, in 1990, the prime minister at the time, Mike Moore, asked that he consider becoming the Wizard of New Zealand.
“I am concerned that your wizardry is not at the disposal of the entire nation,” Moore wrote on his official letterhead.
“I suggest therefore that you should urgently consider my suggestion that you become the Wizard of New Zealand, Antarctica and relevant offshore areas … no doubt there will be implications in the area of spells, blessings, curses, and other supernatural matters that are beyond the competence of mere Prime Ministers.”
Since then he has performed in Christchurch, rain-danced in New Zealand and Australia during droughts, and was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal in the 2009 Queen’s Birthday Honours. But he has also encountered controversy with off-colour comments about women.
Incredibly bad form for the government of New Zealand, which is clearly no longer working in the interests of its people. To terminate the nation’s – hell, the world’s — only state-appointed wizard is very risky. I mean, aside from just being entertaining, the man fought against climate change with rain dances.
But it is cancel culture that came for the wizard.
In an April screening of channel Three’s comedy current affairs show New Zealand Today, hosted by Guy Williams, the Wizard said he liked to tease women by telling them they were devious, and said “they use cunning to get men who are thick”.
“I love women, I forgive them all the time, I’ve never struck one yet. Never strike a woman because they bruise too easily is the first thing, and they’ll tell the neighbours and their friends … and then you’re in big trouble.”
The council said it had sent the Wizard a letter thanking him for his services to Christchurch over the past decades and informing him they were closing the book on his contract, a council spokesperson, Lynn McClelland, said.
The man is 88 years old and made some jokes he’s probably made for decades. A bit off-color? Maybe. Worth eliminating his services over? Very doubtful.
As I mentioned yesterday, cancel culture is trying too hard to protect everyone from everything, and the result has been some really frustrating battles to watch play out. The retirement of one of rock and roll’s most recognizable songs is just the most recent one (aside from this whole wizard situation). All because of misunderstood intentions or a complete lack of a sense of humor.
That’s why we’re seeing the controversy surrounding Dave Chappelle, whose entire point in the comedy special is being ignored in favor of focusing on a few statements, and that’s why we’re seeing more focus being given to the people screaming that they are victims. Because if we actually paid attention to the point behind the jokes, the controversy goes away and a supposedly victimized group isn’t really the victim anymore.
So the wizard is in kind of the same boat. No, he’s not really making a point, but he is apparently in trouble for making some jokes that weren’t in the best taste, people complained, and now he’s out of a job.
And the people of New Zealand will suffer without their Gandalf because of it.