Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt must be wondering whether New Zealand society has changed at all in 50 years.
Back in the Triassic era, when he was a youthful, long-haired member of the Progressive Youth Movement and an Auckland University Students' Association executive member, he was arrested 33 times at political protests, most famously for yelling "bull****" through his loudhailer.
Now a crowd of students are being tutted at for chanting "F*** John Key", seemingly inspired by a Kim Dotcom speech. The sugardaddy of the Internet Mana Party was speaking at the event and his denunciations of Key were parlayed into a more prosaic chant by the liquored-up crowd.
I have no time for Dotcom or his party. But, really, would people be drawing comparisons to the Nuremburg Rallies if Dotcom were not German? Those rallies were massive propaganda productions choreographed down to the tiniest detail.
The one-minute party video is just a bunch of drunk students getting rarked up . Yes, the f-word is offensive to many -- just as Shadbolt's famous "bull****" was considered offensive in the 70s -- and there's a time and a place for it. But students on the lash wouldn't think twice about bellowing it out. There's safety in numbers and they must have felt terribly daring and anarchic.
Whether Dotcom and the party he funds can translate that into votes remains to be seen. But denunciations of the tiresome man just give him the publicity he craves.