I've had moments of annoyance with cops, but not enough to wish for their humiliation.

The police will do that for themselves.

Accordingly, members of Wellington's community police team are to be sent out on bicycles in shorts, stab-proof vests and helmets, to catch the city's miscreants.

On these they will pursue offenders not wearing a seatbelt, or caught texting while driving, maybe, and signal them to pull over "with a wave of the hand", a message that could at times be embarrassingly misconstrued. And on bicycles they will give chase. It's very Reno 911, which is to say, comedy gold.


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I'm reminded of an earlier police campaign to put life-size cardboard cut-outs of police in shops to deter thieves. You couldn't make this stuff up.

Shorts and ankle socks on grown men are a look that takes a lot of explaining, like grown men wearing shorty pyjamas. They are an awkward retreat to boyhood, to not being taken seriously by wives and other adults, which is why serious cyclists wear clingy, colourful lycra outfits covering their full body when they flaunt their assets on weekends. The cops' outfit needs a rethink. The sartorial bar is set higher.

I apologise for any inference here that a male of any kind should look masculine. As if. But credible would be good.

As for the gender thing, rugby player Israel Folau has caused offence for saying what many people 50 years ago would have said without incident, and which members of his church still take as fact, that homosexuality is sinful.

It is his misfortune that he lives in the present, where talk of gender and sexuality is a minefield of the unforgivable, so much so that a recent New York magazine featured new parents who plan for their babies never hearing a gendered pronoun, playing with gendered toys or wearing gendered clothes, and so will hopefully not identify as male, female, or the various other genders in particular.

The same magazine has lately featured a precocious 10-year old drag performer in the city, a sign that former beliefs are so irrelevant as to be risible.

I am not sure why a sportsman's opinion on homosexuality is of interest or even relevant, or that silencing public utterances amounts to genuine protection of the vulnerable.

The kerfuffle looks more like the currently popular sport of setting a trap for the unwary, then mocking them when they fall in.

This is what we call discourse, though it isn't. Discourse is an exchange of opinions, which gendered topics can no longer be. There is a right away and a wrong way to hold beliefs about them, otherwise you are best advised to keep them to yourself.

Much like the unfortunate cops on bicycles, enforcers of the correct opinion on these matters wait in the wings, ready to strike offenders against the new code. It has the benefit of not being written down, like the Ten Commandments, and so is endlessly adaptable.

The standard of debate is not high. Former MP Hone Harawira, speaking on the TV programme Marae last weekend, said he had some sympathy for Folau, saying that since Folau's belief was supposedly based on the Bible, if you call it hate speech, "you're saying let's ban the Bible".

But you're not, actually. You're opening up an endless argument about what the Bible says or doesn't say, which nobody seems to know with absolute certainty, though they can be very boring.

MP Louisa Wall countered that Harawira was wrong because comments like Folau's could lead to suicide. Which I doubt. Folau's belief matters no more than anyone else's, which is why people should calm down and forget about him. Or if they insist, applaud his crazy courage in asserting the unthinkable. Either way the earth stays on its axis. It's heard it all before.

But what fun they have in Japan, where scientists, blissfully unaware of our progress in such urgent matters, have been able to establish that if you dress attractive young women up in mildly "sexy" nurses' outfits, and station them outside pinball parlours, young men will tend to think having a check-up might be interesting.

"Erotic stimuli can be a strong cue to action, given its inherence stemming from human evolution," the Tokyo University scientists concluded before being forced to make grovelling apologies.

And this was over heterosexuality. The nostalgic cheek of it.