|Two waitresses not named Suzie|
What made me laugh, though, was the Kiwi slant on conspiracies. The paper chose to focus on all the big ones: whether the U.S. government was involved in 9/11; who shot JFK; what happened at Roswell; was the moon landing a hoax. All subjects - all American subjects, I must add - that have caused healthy debate for years and years.
What, pray tell, do you think was the top New Zealad conspiracy the paper mentioned? The bombing of the Rainbow Warrior by the evil French? No. It was Waitress Suzie, of course. A rugby conspiracy. Only in New Zealand. Suzie is the mythical figure said to have poisoned New Zealand's mighty All Blacks on the eve of the Rugby World Cup final in 1995. It's the game now made famous by the Clint Eastwood movie Invictus, which I believe not a single person in New Zealand has watched to this day. The All Blacks lost that game, in overtime, in what became a defining moment of black-white solidarity for the reborn South Africa.
Right after the game, then AB coach Laurie Mains, made the claim that a mysterious - and never discovered - waitress named Suzie poisoned the team at the hotel. Of the 35-man squad, 27 became sick - all of whom had eaten at the team's hotel. The tales of their "blowing chunks" during the game became legendary, though I have not seen footage of mass puking going on.
|A most unlegendary photo in NZ: the South African captain with the rugby world cup.|
This is a serious matter in New Zealand. Or at least it was, until they won the Rugby World Cup last year. Since then I've heard more people talking about letting it go. But before then you could have a serious, rational, and prolonged discussion in any bar or other gathering of Kiwis about the theft of the 1995 cup by the Springboks. I'm not just talking about blind fanatics either. Some of the most educated people I know here harbored deep suspicions and even deeper resentments.
Yes, they take rugby seriously in New Zealand. Now even some of the myths are going to be part of a university curriculum. Thank God the All Blacks won in 2011, is all I can say.