The Labour, Green, Mana and CTU websites haven’t got it along their top ribbons: it’s still just “Media releases” and “Contact Us”. Nothing either anywhere along the bottom navigation bars, if they have them. Are we to conclude from this that the new internet blog experiment “the daily blog” is just that – a blog and nothing more? Without promotion from the political left it appears this blog thing is designed to be a minor distraction at best.
How they think they can completely revolutionize the online left without inbound links from the actual left is beyond me – that’s an automatic fail right there. It’s part of some muddled thinking given an airing in five to ten posts a day by the chirpy editor who has attempted to explain that the left are not well served or connected in the mainstream media …. but they do want to know what’s going on … and they want to hear a solid leftwing perspective on current events … so they need a website which attempts to be a news site … but the media are corporate shills anyway so no one really wants to emulate them … but it’s really unfair they don’t get NZ On Air funding. These threads don’t weave well – it’s conceptually a bit straight-up-fucked-to-hell, the way they are trying to set it up.
It is difficult to reconcile what they are saying. On the one hand, “We desperately need Public Broadcasting” – a concept so serious it gets its own German capitalisation. On the other, “It’s part of the wanky Wellington money-go-round actually”. Some questions are begging: Who is this blog for, besides the half-dozen white men who write half the content? And why don’t THEY get NZ On Air funding, huh?
And what kind of self-respecting leftwing blogger actually buys into the idea that the private sector is “leaner, meaner [and] more dynamic”?
My thought when this was originally announced some months ago was that it was the beginnings of a serious leftwing discussion hub – something more media-focused than The Standard, more explicitly leftwing than Public Address, less bugfuck surreal than Tumeke. How – after all – can a leftwing website justify building a platform if the end result isn’t a diverse lineup of interesting voices curated to influence mainstream commentary? That surely must be the long-term objective. That is where this should be going and it would be a disappointment were it not to arrive at that point in the future. Those were my initial, slightly long-winded, thoughts.
So what of this website?
Firstly it is at its own address – thedailyblog.co.nz. Which I suppose makes sense since Geocities shut down. Secondly it has a ridiculously busy front page … because the internet generation like clicking five different buttons to get to the content. Is that the presumption here? Presenting it like someone threw up on a WordPress template isn’t appealing. Thirdly, there are ads, but so what, shut your fucking face and use AdBlock if you don’t like it, because as a leftwing blogger I certainly don’t believe in stupid concepts like “the public good unfettered by commercial concerns”, and living in Auckland is haaaaaaaaaaaaaaard.
And fourthly there are blogs from a bunch of white dudes from Auckland who are probably over 40 (all right, I have actually investigated this and turns out you can judge books by their covers).
It seem utterly redundant given the sheer volume of content you could be producing from 30+ contributors, but the site also spams you with unedited press releases from political parties and unions, videos which are trending on Reddit, five-year-old cat macros, and gratuitous boobs. Are we not totally over blog websites which churn out clickbait spam to artificially bump their pageviews? I am totally over it.
The main page is overwhelming. Certainly from a basic web useability perspective it is unfathomable.
So what constitutes success for this venture? Will it be audience numbers for the site alone – because it sure isn’t having any effect on the wider media narrative around political issues. It isn’t built to get people to engage freely or develop a community either. How are the admins measuring this – and do they care?
I have gone past the front page, because I actually bother to do basic groundwork when I review things, and I see very little of what was promised in the press release:
I’m not quitting the NZ Blogosphere, I’m intending to change it.
TheDailyBlog.co.nz will bring together 30 of the best left-wing bloggers and progressive opinion shapers in NZ all onto one site to critique the news, the media, and politics to provide the other side of the story.
What was the slogan again? ”Want to support this work? Donate today.” More like “Don’t, and won’t.”
I’m going to put my cards on the table and say it straight out: in the upcoming Labour leadership contest, I am firmly behind [Grant Robertson/David Cunliffe].
The thing about [Robertson/Cunliffe] which sets him apart from [Robertson/Cunliffe] is sure, he’s got an ego, but he’s good at controlling it. When people meet [Robertson/Cunliffe] they really get a sense of warm and genuineness, unlike [Robertson/Cunliffe].
Sure, [Robertson/Cunliffe] has been a public servant for a long time, but he can still appeal to people outside the beltway because of his life experiences. And while some people this [Robertson/Cunliffe] really reflects the progressive, leftwing values I support, I just don’t agree, because he has a really checkered history on those issues, whereas I think [Robertson/Cunliffe] has been really vocal and visible in those areas.
Now I understand that [Robertson/Cunliffe] might appeal to some people, and that’s totally fair, because we should all vote in line with our consciences. But on the other hand, I think he’s just not going to win against John Key, whereas [Robertson/Cunliffe] can totally take the fight to him, especially in televised debates.
The other thing is that we really need a break from the Goff/Shearer style of leadership, and [Robertson/Cunliffe] fits that bill for me because he can really stand apart from it, whereas [Robertson/Cunliffe] is just too closely associated with the failures of the past.
I’ve been a [Robertson/Cunliffe] fan for ages, and I’m not going to apologise for backing [Robertson/Cunliffe], but it’s really annoying me how fannish the [Robertson/Cunliffe] supporters are being. They’re just jumping on the bandwagon because they think [Robertson/Cunliffe] is going to win and they just don’t understand that [Robertson/Cunliffe] is the real man for the job.
What I guess I’m really saying is that we need unity and leadership, not smugness and divisiveness, and that’s why Labour needs [Robertson/Cunliffe] and not [Robertson/Cunliffe] because he’s a doodyhead, and I just wish everyone who supports [Robertson/Cunliffe] could stop slinging mud around in the debate because you’re making us look fractured and spiteful.
Homework: choose the options which reflect the opposite of how you feel, and consider how fucking smug it sounds and how much it annoys you. Then choose the options which reflect how you actually feel, and get some nice warm fuzzies about how balanced and rational you’re being.
I was sadly remiss in not including the following statement in my post about polls:
This poll [agrees/disagrees] with my opinions about politics so it must be [a rogue/a correction of the previous poll which was a rogue]. The [insert company] poll is notoriously biased [for/against] [Labour/the Greens/Winston/young people] because their methodology is [superior/inferior] so we can conclude it’s [reliable/a pack of lies].
A Mumble News poll published last night [confirms/refutes] the trend seen in recent weeks [in favour of/against] David Shearer.
This is a [great result/terrible result] for the [embattled/inspirational/total failure of a] leader, who has [faced criticism/received praise] [in the press/on the blogs] over his [decision/lack of decisive action] [in support of/opposing] [controversial/mainstream] policies.
[It clearly reflects the impact of !event / It is obvious that !event has had no impact] on people’s perceptions.
Previous polls have shown he has [gained traction/failed to gain any traction] against [the Prime Minister/the Greens/Winston Peters], and is [set to lead Labour/incapable of leading Labour] to an [historic/marginal/Pyrrhic] [victory/defeat] in 2014, in coalition with the [Greens/Mana/NZ First/ALCP].
This result just confirms everything I’ve been saying. David Shearer is the [best man/worst man] to lead the Labour Party. The public of New Zealand [are behind him/despise him/don't know who he is] and he’s [putting forward great Labour policies which are capturing people's imaginations / stumbling drunkenly from failure to failure].
Everyone who’s said that the polls show otherwise should apologise right now. Their opinions just aren’t supported by the numbers. It’s now clear that David Shearer [has momentum/is dead in the water], and everyone must unite behind [him/David Cunliffe/Shane Jones/Hone Harawira].
YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.
I don’t know how you feel,
And I can’t know how you feel.
But I want you to know
That I feel for you, oh
I want you to know that I feel.
And I feel so ashamed,
That your femininity’s been so maimed
By the cruelness
Of party politics, oh
I feel so ashamed
When the LECs sneered with contempt
“Don’t sing me your womanly lament!”
Because you said “It’s my turn”
But you still had to learn
That equality wasn’t their intent
And the cold rain fell
In that procedural hell
You could be a fluent polymath
But you just ain’t a sociopath
And the cold rain fell
But girl, don’t hang your head
Because misogyny’s widespread
It’s no terrible deed
To lack the balls to succeed
So girl, don’t hang your head
Just hush your blog chattering
Over a representative smattering
It’s a man’s game to play
You shouldn’t play anyway
Because a dragon’s hide is so unflattering
I don’t know how you feel,
And I can’t know how you feel.
But I want you to know
That I feel for you, oh
I want you to know that I feel.
This was originally going to be a random recommended reading link, but then I got ranty.
The Onion is now officially covered by the Jezebel Rule, because there’s nothing satirical about fantasizing about the violent death of a black woman. And since they fired the person who called Quvenzhané Wallis a cunt, they’re also covered by the Hell Pizza rule, i.e. “if you have multiple employees who will make these kind of fuckups, you don’t get to keep playing the “just one employee fucked up” card”.
Also: personally, I really really hate people equating shit like this to A Modest Proposal. When Swift uses utterly dehumanizing language and tone towards the Irish babies he proposes to farm for eating, it’s because he’s satirizing the language and tone other people use towards Irish families. He’s writing shitty things to highlight shitty things. Also, dude was Anglo-Irish.
For The Onion’s latest vile piece to be equivalent, The Onion would have to be satirizing the callous and fetishistic way media discuss violence against women of colour. (Compare with how The Civilian manages near-perfect mimicry of the standard NZ media tone.) Which they’re clearly not, because then they might have written something like “TMZ.com wins 2012 Pulitzer for groundbreaking uploading of graphic imagery. Judges commended the website’s lack of ethical fibre in a fearless pursuit of pageviews at the expense of people’s privacy and safety.”
What The Onion appears to be trying to satirize – if we grant that the article is meant to be satire – is Chris Brown’s continuing lack of ownership over his own violence. But instead of saying something like, “Tearful Chris Brown finally admits to Barbara Walters that he’s never done anything wrong ever”, the article is all about Rihanna. All about committing acts of violence towards Rihanna. All about Chris-Brown-as-perpetual-violent-abuser and Rihanna-as-perpetual-victim.
Which brings up the topic of The Onion’s apparent indifference to the violence of white male celebrities. Their most recent articles on Charlie Sheen – who’s cropped up as a counter-example on Twitter a few times – include
Responsible, Thoughtful Nation Decides To Ignore Charlie Sheen Situation
… which delivers a serious poke at the everyday people who continue to prop up the gossip industry while simultaneously decrying its lack of ethics, and
A Troubled Sheen
… which includes a timeline of his fall from grace and pointedly criticises TV networks’ ongoing deference to him:
2010: CBS implores Sheen to keep doing whatever the hell he wants, but with at least the tiniest goddamn bit of discretion
Neither article mentions his history of domestic violence – which could be read as problematic in that it erases his serious crimes in favour of buying into the “wacky Charlie Sheen is wacky” narrative – but I’m really quite happy for The Onion to err, however unintentionally, on the side of basic decency with that one.
Chris Brown’s violence, on the other hand? Hi-larious.
There was a time, I’m sure, when The Onion was brilliant and edgy and breathtakingly funny. But if y’all didn’t get the hint that they’d turned to the dark side after the whole paywall thing, let this be your final straw.
(And no, I’m not linking to The Onion, because that’s their entire fucking plan.)
In shocking news today, the crew of the smash hit Discovery Channel show Mythbusters were arrested in Polk County, Florida, after over 200 hours of graphic video footage was seized by the Sheriff’s office.
This footage is reported to show the team – who have previously passed themselves off as fun-loving larrikins promoting scientific knowledge to a broad audience by scientifically testing myths and urban legends – setting off a series of increasingly devastating explosions, with the estimated damage to property and pig carcasses totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars. In one video, they appear to test the effectiveness of store-bought ammunition against commuter aircraft.
The Sheriff’s department has also released provocative images of one team member constructing what appears to be a long-range assault cannon using a popular diet soda and candy.
A spokesman said, “We have a zero-tolerance approach to people using chemical reactions to learn more about the wonders of our physical universe. The Mythbusters’ interest in the rapid expansion of matter, sudden releases of chemical energy, and demonstrating the laws of physics using frozen chickens poses a clear and present threat to the citizens of Polk County.”
Except of course that’s not what happened. What happened was a sixteen-year-old high school student mixed some stuff together in a water bottle to see what would happen. As hundreds of thousands of sixteen-year-old high school students have done over the course of centuries – that is, those who didn’t tire of such childish things and graduate to making their own fireworks or pipe bombs, or throwing handfuls of potassium into the school pool.
(Best. Chemistry class. EVER.)
But this time, when there was a “pop” and the top came off the water bottle, Kiera Wilmot was expelled and arrested on felony weapons charges.
Kiera Wilmot just happens to be a young woman of colour, unlike 90% of the people you see on YouTube making things go “pop” in a similar fashion.
On marriage equality:
The Society for the Promotion of Community Standards don’t understand (or are pretending to not understand) that self-selecting phone-in polls are meaningless, especially when they’re getting a suspiciously big text bill this month.
The Civilian was the star media outlet on the ground, filing this insightful report mere moments after the vote was held.
Colin Craig continues to overestimate his own popular appeal – more on this one later.
On NZ Power
David Farrar is pretending to be stupid, and his commentariat are completely buying it.
Chris Trotter has caught the whiff of victory and has always been at war with Eastcunliffe.
Danyl McLauchlan is probably depressingly on the money.
My unsurprising reaction? Awesome to see Labour and the Greens working together. Awesome to see some real game-changing policy with big sexy BERL reports behind it. I can only hope they keep it up.
It has recently come to the attention of the recruitment team that employees working within the sensitive claims unit may not be fully aware of the expectations of their role and the unit in general.
Given our unstated practice of never correcting the behaviour of current employees, given this will very likely incite them to leak even more sensitive material to external parties, the [redacted] Committee has determined the following policy:
1. Review current recruitment processes for the sensitive claims unit and institute a holistic end-to-end process for ensuring global best practice is implemented within the recruitment framework
2. Allow natural attrition to gradually downsize the potential risk profile of future incidents through replacing sub-optimal occupants of roles within the unit.
New recruitment procedure
The [redacted] Committee has determined that the following additional steps will be mandated in the recruitment process for the sensitive claims unit. The new process will be in place as of 1 March 2013 notwithstanding current recruitment underway.
1. Candidates will be asked to confirm that they realise they are applying for a role within the sensitive claims unit.
2. Candidates will be asked to explain in their own words the implications of the name “sensitive claims unit”.
3. Candidates will be asked if they understand what “sensitive” means. If a satisfactory answer is given in (2), recruiters may choose to skip this step.
4. Candidates will be placed in a scenario dealing with a medical report submitted relating to a sensitive case. They will be given the options of:
a. Filing the report as provided by the medical practitioner
b. Filing the report as provided by the medical practitioner in the bin
c. Randomly amending the report and making no note of the changes made
d. Deliberately amending the report and making no note of the changes made
e. Spinning round and round in their chair for an hour then go for drinks without locking their workstation.
Only candidates who answer (a) or (e) will be progressed to further stages of the recruitment process.
The Government Administration Committee is hearing submissions on the Marriage Equality Bill. Ostensibly the purpose is to gather the views of the nation in order to make judgements on how the Bill might move forward to become New Zealand law.
On the other hand, it may just be about Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi MP delivering a fantastic performance art piece on the ludicrously blinkered worldviews of [some of] the Bill’s opponents.
First there’s his asking a same-sex couple “who would be the husband and who would be the wife” if they got married. Props to the couple for being able to field a witty answer, as I know overcoming one’s natural reaction of standing there flabberghasted must have been difficult.
Earth to Mr Bakshi: They’d both be husbands. Or they could both be wives. Or they might call each other “partner” or “spouse” (if the Bill passes; currently I understand civilly-unioned folk can’t use the term legally).
If, as I do somewhat suspect, Mr Bakshi was asking who would take the working / driving / lightbulb changing / penis-insertion role, and who would take the cooking / cleaning / screaming at tiny spiders / penis-envelopment role … well, I think that’s just a little personal for a Select Committee hearing, don’t you?
Then he saw fit to ask Jordan Carter – who in a spirit of encouraging empathy had asked the Committee to consider a role-reversal situation – where babies would come from if everyone turned gay.
Let’s add into the mix the fact that previously, he’d informed an anti-equality protest that the majority of National MPs voted against the Bill – which they didn’t.
The options are this: Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi is a complete embarrassment of a human being, someone who really thinks same-sex couples are aliens from another planet whose ways Are Not Our Ways, and also a liar;
or Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi is a brilliant satirical performance artist.
My faith in humanity begs me to go with the latter; my brain says nope.