Every time I am published somewhere, a couple of one-hand typists figuratively emerge like clockwork from their basements, redeploy their right hand to the task of typing, and assail me for being "bitter".
This has been the Labour Party talking point against me for years. I can only imagine it refers to the fact I was on the wrong side of the failed coup attempt against Helen Clark in 1996.
Yes, that's right. Nineteen hundred and ninety-six.
Seemingly oblivious to the fact I have spent the subsequent two decades working in Australia, the US, Rwanda and Vietnam, building an eclectic and ever-interesting, if not especially lucrative, career, these randoms seems to think I've spent it nursing my wounds over no longer having a gig in the Labour Fucking Research Unit.
The latest was yesterday, in the person of some young Labour supporter who called me "catty" and "bitter" for penning a column that had the audacity to suggest Grant Robertson is better suited to Foreign Affairs than Finance when EVERYONE OUTSIDE ROBERTSON'S IMMEDIATE FAMILY KNOWS THIS TO BE TRUE. (I never link to, or name, these clowns; it only encourages them).
This particular tweep (for whom the second 'e' is interchangeable with 'r') went on to lament the fact he is somehow forced to read the "navel-gazing" opinions of straight white men. Aside from the fact my past boyfriends would be amused at the characterization, and apart from the fact nobody forced him to read anything, I'm pretty sure he either didn't actually wade through the column, or else selected "navel-gazing" at random from a trolling dictionary. Alas, phrases have all but lost their meaning in this post-modern universe.
I'm so bored with this bitterness sledge (what on earth could Grant Bloody Robertson have ever done to embitter me? I've never met him!). And the notion that some factional carryings-on twenty years ago lurks in my black soul like some vengeful serial killer is so absurd I don't know whether to laugh or cry — so I choose both, like an emotionally erratic toddler (see picture).
And yet it's prompted me to explore what I am actually bitter about, and the answer is plenty. Here's a non-exhaustive sample, in no particular order:
- The ongoing refusal of the French government to admit complicity in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
- The fact the French maintain unwarranted say on former colonies via their equally unwarranted permanent seat on the Security Council.
- The genocide in Aleppo, and the international community's failure to protect innocent civilians, capitulating to the tyrannical forces of Assad and Putin,
- The Vatican for harbouring genocide perpetrators.
- Gwyneth Paltrow's Academy Award for Shakespeare in Love.
- 15 years wasted to alcoholism.
- The New Zealand Herald publishing Lizzie Marvelly on US politics.
- Every Adam Sandler movie except Punch-Drunk Love.
- All the shows I missed on Broadway and off-Broadway during my four years in New York.
- 77,000 Trump votes in WI, MI and PA.
- Anyone who voted for Jill Stein.
- A decade battling debilitating, severe major depressive disorder.
- The personality defects which contributed to the failure of my last relationship.
- That ice-cream manufacturer who wouldn't scale up his operation to export to Japan when I was set to make a killing back in the mid-nineties.
- The loss of friends and friend's children to cancer.
- Cancer, generally.
- That 50 bucks that guy owes me.
- My innate lack of patience with literary fiction.
- The criminalization of pot.
What are you bitter about?