Once upon a time the plural of 'wizard' was 'war'
October 14, 2021 10:41 PM   Subscribe

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. Post title from Terry Pratchett, of course.
posted by jjderooy (24 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
“They are not making use of my worldwide fame. I am disappointed they haven’t made use of The Wizard as part of the promotion of Christchurch.

“I don’t like being cancelled.”

OK, I think I know as much about the wizard as I need to.
posted by Umami Dearest at 10:53 PM on October 14, 2021 [19 favorites]

Ohmigosh that guy is a jerk. I didn't know he was being paid!
posted by inexorably_forward at 11:36 PM on October 14, 2021 [2 favorites]

This prompted me to read a bit more about The Wizard...

"The most important magic is spin. Joseph Goebbels was the great master. He turned the entire German nation into Wagnerian opera. Winston Churchill was a brilliant spin doctor. I saw Churchill as a Merlin figure with the Battle of Britain pilots as the warrior knights. They weren't fanatical killers, they were just standing up against these bullies. We stood firm. No one writes history to make history except weird guys like myself, Hitler and Churchill."

What a charmer.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:17 AM on October 15, 2021 [6 favorites]

Another example of the general tendency of things that were transgressive, cool and epater le bourgeois in the 60s and 70s to be reactionary and nasty in the 21st century. In my youth, the Wizard was a wonderful example of non-conformism and whimsy in the altogether too-orderly society of provincial New Zealand. Now he is.... not. It is sad.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:43 AM on October 15, 2021 [19 favorites]

Yeah - he was fun to watch taking on the fundies preaching in the square .... back when I was a student .... 45 years ago - sadly his shtick has not aged well the whole misogynist/royalist thing only got worse with age - he was connected with a bunch of SCA-likes in pith helmets - they all eventually grew up and got jobs - he's still the wizard, and well past retirement age
posted by mbo at 1:40 AM on October 15, 2021 [4 favorites]

So he's the New Zealand equivalent of Michael Leunig (the gentle hippy cartoonist known for his curly-headed everyman and ducks, and more recently his reactionary views on gender roles and his anti-vaccine zealotry)?
posted by acb at 1:42 AM on October 15, 2021

Ah, biscuits about Leunig.
posted by freethefeet at 1:44 AM on October 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

Well he (the wizard) is an Australian import ....
posted by mbo at 1:59 AM on October 15, 2021

Surely wizards can’t be cancelled; they have to be banished.

If the city council wants to make this stick, they need to seal him up in a tree or a cave.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:38 AM on October 15, 2021 [36 favorites]

This is one wizard that it's okay to meddle in the affairs of.
posted by Foosnark at 4:30 AM on October 15, 2021 [8 favorites]

No Wizard, but Canada once had a Fool - in 1968 Vancouver BC deemed an intellectual named Joachim (Kim) Foikis to be the "official" town fool by the Canada Council for the Arts (with $3500.00 to help spread whimsey and unconventional ideas).
posted by whatevernot at 4:38 AM on October 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

Aw man, this went all milkshake duck.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:50 AM on October 15, 2021 [7 favorites]

these jobs are anachronisms

we no longer have a need for wizards - quants, tax shelter accountants and lobbyists simply magic money away from the poor to the rich

we no longer have need for fools - this job has been folded into the entire political class, pontificating and gurning and posing and drooling their way to the apocalypse
posted by lalochezia at 5:51 AM on October 15, 2021 [6 favorites]

I'm surprised they didn't sue him for failing to prevent the Earthquake.

As a foreigner, I don't get the weird disconnect between how awesome (in the original sense of the word) tourism in NZ is and how cringe-worthy much of their advertising is. But, I assume they've got test audience data that shows it works. Cheers, I guess.
posted by eotvos at 6:12 AM on October 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

As long as they don't fire the fighter, rogue and cleric, too, they should be able to muddle through.
posted by oddman at 7:58 AM on October 15, 2021 [5 favorites]

Instead of giving this guy any more attention, can I point out that the post title is one of my all-time favorite Pratchett lines?

It's short, succinct, and conveys an enormous amount of unexplained backstory while having just the right amount of glibness and contempt to set that backstory into the proper context.

It's been years since I last read Sorcery, but just reading that one line brings back the image of wizards assembling around towers wreaking destruction upon other wizards gathered around towers in faraway cities and the whole pointlessness stupidity of it all.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 8:46 AM on October 15, 2021 [4 favorites]

As long as they don't fire the fighter, rogue and cleric, too, they should be able to muddle through.

All the cool kids are going artificer anyway.
posted by meinvt at 9:03 AM on October 15, 2021

The dream of a 21st century Emperor Norton have been dashed.
posted by NoThisIsPatrick at 9:07 AM on October 15, 2021 [5 favorites]

Yeah I mean he was funny to me as a kid like 35 years ago....but has long since expired. I was a fan of him disappearing for census. Maybe at the last one he shouldn't have come back.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 9:09 AM on October 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

$16,000NZD is $11,300 in US Dollars.
posted by now i'm piste at 11:12 AM on October 15, 2021

Surely wizards can’t be cancelled; they have to be banished.

By an abjury of their peers?
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:16 AM on October 15, 2021 [5 favorites]

From the BBC :
But even wizards must eat. This one has long been supported by his Australian fiancée, Alice Flett.

"It fits with my post-feminist views - she supports me. I am rather like a kept woman in that respect. I'm very lucky."
Certainly luckier than Ms. Flett.
posted by jenkinsEar at 11:40 AM on October 15, 2021 [2 favorites]

They've been engaged for while
posted by mbo at 5:22 PM on October 15, 2021

Washington Post article on this.
Since then years, he has been tasked with providing “acts of wizardry” to the city, with a large pointy black hat, black robe, long gray beard and wooden cane. He has addressed plaza crowds about a campaign to invert the world map to have New Zealand “in its rightful place” at the top. He has pontificated on the ideas of well-known philosophers in city squares. He has performed rain dances during droughts.
He claims to have a New Zealand driver's license registered under the name Wizard, The.
Under an “Adventures” header, he lists webpages including one about the hazards of casting spells for rugby games, and a page called “Fear and loathing in Christchurch City Council.” He also makes podcasts and has published at least two e-books.
Queen Elizabeth II awarded him a Queen’s Service Medal during her 2009 birthday honors.
In recent years, he has come under criticism for controversial remarks about women
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:15 AM on October 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

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