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Bouquet to SST

By Steven | April 13, 2011

Adam Dudding of the SST has written a terrific profile on Paul Henry, deftly revealing him as an egotistical blowhard, but somehow likeable. I am fascinated by Henry’s (no doubt accurate) vision of himself as an opinion merchant. The pride Henry takes in the quality of his opinions is related to their ability to provoke reactions, not any effort he makes to inform himself of facts. It’s an insight to learn that he is a man who is apparently capable of believing both of these things at the same time:

I cannot remember one thing that I have ever said with the aim to cause offence or the aim to get publicity or anything like that.

I have no doubt there will be a lot of people who will listen to me with the sole purpose of being offended. And I hope I don’t let them down.

It all reminds me of this exchange, from US shock jock Howard Stern’s movie, Private Parts:

Researcher: The average radio listener listens for eighteen minutes. The average Howard Stern fan listens for – are you ready for this? – an hour and twenty minutes.
Pig Vomit: How can that be?
Researcher: Answer most commonly given? “I want to see what he’ll say next.”
Pig Vomit: Okay, fine. But what about the people who hate Stern?
Researcher: Good point. The average Stern hater listens for two and a half hours a day.
Pig Vomit: But… if they hate him, why do they listen?
Researcher: Most common answer? “I want to see what he’ll say next.”

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