Victoria University Chancellor Sir Neville Jordan is in a fight with Salient magazine over a “disgusting” 96-word satirical article about him, but is his anger evidence of a deeper issue?
Sir Neville Jordan’s life story is inspiring.
He started his working life at age 13 as a child labourer at a freezing works, and went on to become the founder of huge investment firm Endeavour Capital, chancellor of Victoria University, and a Knight of the Realm. His profile photo is from the classic hand-on-chin school: a power pose signifying leadership, thoughtfulness, and a youthful inability to hold your own head up unassisted.
You’d think his inspiring transition from Oliver Twist-esque carcass grinder to uber-rich self-actualiser would bring happiness. But it’s true what they say: money doesn’t buy happiness. For all his wealth, business acumen, and public profile, Sir Neville still has a big problem: he has the driest balls in New Zealand.
The former Wellingtonian of the Year’s condition became inflamed earlier this month after a 96-word Q&A was printed in the Victoria University student magazine Salient. It featured Sir Neville quoting Kylie Jenner, liking Cliff Richard, and claiming “shaking lots of sweaty hands” is the worst part of his job, and the best part of his job.
The problem? He hadn’t said any of those things. It turned out the article was ‘satire’. The only clue? It was printed in the magazine’s regular ‘Funny News’ pages.
Sir Neville was incensed. On the day the issue was published, he used the ‘urgent business’ section of a University Council meeting to rant about the “disgusting” treatment he had received at the hands of the student magazine. Its article was a “travesty”, he said.
Salient news editor Kate Robertson, who wrote the satirical article in “five minutes”, was at the meeting, and can provide evidence that Sir Neville is trying to vacuum the laughter and fun out of our Earth. She says Sir Neville’s head “may have become red” as he went through a five-minute laundry list of complaints about his treatment at the hands of the people at Salient.
“He said it wasn’t clear that this was a spoof. It was disgusting. A travesty. I was the only person from Salient in the room,” she says, in a verbal submission leading us toward the conclusion that Sir Neville has a fun-shaped hole in his heart. “He didn’t look at me, but it felt very directed my way.”
The Spinoff would like to raise some urgent business of its own at this juncture: We submit that Sir Neville’s outburst proves he has had a significant and irreversible Lolectomy.
Salient editors Emma Hurley and Jayne Mulligan also had first-hand experience of Sir Neville being a huge Fun Sponge. In emails from the university’s communications department and Sir Neville’s secretary after the University Council meeting, they were told to apologise unreservedly for the article.
They sent Sir Neville a written apology. He rejected it and demanded they print a lol-less apology in the same position as the original article. The apology would have to include the word “unreservedly”. Salient would also be “required” to delete all evidence of the offending spoof’s existence. What would happen if Salient didn’t meet its “requirements”? Mulligan and Hurley were told they were “non-negotiable”.
“It was like he thought he was a principal in high school,” Hurley says.
The paper, which is funded by the Victoria University student association, and has editorial independence written into its charter, decided to print a small apology, before writing about the ordeal today.
We asked Sir Neville for a comment on whether he has a sense of humour.
“The matter is now historical and I have nothing further to add,” he said, in reference to a dispute that began three weeks ago and is still unfolding today.
The Spinoff can only conclude that Sir Neville needs urgent medical treatment for being the biggest dryballs in greater New Zealand, its surrounding waters, and territories. Can a person who has risen from nothing to become one of the most powerful and respected figures in New Zealand business overcome having balls like a particularly super-heated section of the sun? Can he serve as a good university chancellor when his balls are like the carapace of a desert insect?
Only time will tell.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.