Search results for: entitlement

You can has entitlement issues

I don’t want to get into Paul Henry’s predictably obnoxious comments about Stephanie Mills of Greenpeace and her physical appearance.  Gina has a [guest] post at The Hand Mirror about it, as does Tane at The Standard.

What I do want to point out, though, is how utterly oblivious some of the comments on that Standard post are (The Hand Mirror draws fewer Fungi from Yuggoth, but they’re there too).

There’s tsmithfield:

If she knew she was going on TV, then why didn’t she shave first?

[Same commenter further down] Facial hair can be sorted out in about two seconds.

There’s justthefacts:

MIlls DOES have a moustache, it DOES look ridiculous, and of course all Henry did was read out emails.

And there’s bingo-triggering concern troll Madeleine:

I felt for the woman as having a problem like that is embarassing and having it all over TV is not nice but its like any personal problem that is visible, if you are about to go on TV you pop that pimple, you wipe that snot, you clean your face, you do your hair, you put on makeup and tidy clothes, you wax/shave your mo.

And I have just one very simple question:

Why the FUCK does Stephanie Mills owe you wankers a hair-free upper lip?

Oh, that’s right. She’s an independent, autonomous human being who can set her own priorities and make her own decisions and look however the fuck she wants to look.  And especially when your fucking ilk are complaining over at THM that no one “has the right NOT to be offended”? It’s supreme fucking hypocrisy to simultaneously whine that you’ve been exposed to someone who clearly hasn’t had your specific aesthetic pleasure foremost in her mind.

I’m sorry to break it to you, guys, but societal beauty standards? Not actually laws. And while I’m sure you’re fucking thrilled that across the country hundreds of thousands of women are stressing the fuck out over invisible blemishes they’ve been assured are there by cosmetics ads, you know what? Some women don’t have the time, or the money, or the inclination (or they’re tweezing and curling and grooming according to their own damn aesthetics). And those women do not fucking owe you an existence without seeing a non-airbrushed human form.

Stephanie Mills can do whatever the fuck she likes with her appearance. At the end of the day, she’ll still be a fucktonne more dignified than you.

PS. GREENPEACE IS ONE FUCKING WORD YOU FUCKING IDIOTS.

The thin end of the wedge: art edition

Background here.

Paul Young, who really, really has to see a video of women who agreed to be filmed under the condition men not look at them, thinks this whole Dowse thing is “the thin end of the wedge.”

I agree.  Why, allow this 3-minute video to be shown off in a tiny blocked-off out-of-the-way of a public gallery, and what’s next? Five-minute videos?  Ten??????  My god, they might extend it to an area larger than a toilet cubicle!  It might not be tucked away behind the reception desk!

Seriously, though, watch the 3News video.  Now when they’re talking about Paul and his mates “politely asking” to see something in the full knowledge it violates the wishes of the participants, who talks about “respectfully declining”?  The gallery head does.  Who brings up “maybe they’ll call in the police!!!!”?  Paul Young does.  Gee, which side do you think is trying to stir shit up?  Which side do you think has a grandiose sense of entitlement?

If the Dowse Gallery is clever, they will have a handy power switch at reception which will stop the exhibit playing if any entitled wankers like Paul Young try to bully their way into an exhibition which does not affect them, does not impede them, does not harm them – except for the terrible damage done to their privilege.

Paul Young is hopeful they’ll “sway” the issue – i.e. the exhibit will be “canned” and no one will be allowed to see it.  Because Muslim women’s ability to have private spaces and interactions outside the male gaze is that fucking threatening, apparently.

White male privilege:  you haz it, Paul.

Father’s creepy control issues garner media sympathy for no discernable reason

Let’s play a game, dear readers.

What is the most ridiculously fucked up thing about this story?

Is it:

a)  The truly astounding levels of entitlement displayed by the bio-douche involved

b)  The fact this even made it to court

c)  How the bio-douche’s utterly scary entitlement complex is only heightened by the fact the pregnant woman has said she doesn’t intend to abort, thus meaning he wants to legally force her to give up custody of an apparently wanted child

d)  The fact that news.com.au seriously thought that “Desperate father asks court to prevent abortion” (or, in the URL, “Father’s desperate abortion fear”) wasin any wayan appropriate headline?

I’m going with D, personally.  Protip, patriarchy:  subtext needs more sub.

On “hurting the movement”

This post comes to your courtesy of thoughts provoked by this post at Shakesville [trigger warning for sexual assault].  But really, I’m surprised it hasn’t occurred to me previously given, well, the reaction to almost every guest post I’ve ever made at The Standard.

Stop being so angry.  You’re hurting the movement.

Stop talking about leftwing men committing sexual harassment/assault.  You’re hurting the movement.

Stop criticising Labour, you’re hurting the movement.

Let’s think about that phrase, hurting the movement.  What do [usually white straight middle-class cis men who happen to be leftwing] mean by “hurting the movement”?

Making the movement look bad?  Scaring people away from the movement?

To refer back to Melissa’s post at Shakesville, I would’ve thought that tolerating, excusing, and ignoring sexual assault hurts the movement in precisely those ways.  It certainly makes the movement look bad.  It certainly scares some people away from the movement.

Oh, wait.  I think I see the problem.

When people talk about making the movement look bad, or scaring people away from the movement, they don’t mean just any old people.

They mean other usually-white middle class hetero cis men who currently aren’t hip to the movement.  They mean outsiders who are just like them, so are people they presume will get on board when they realise how awesomely cool that board is.

They don’t, i.e., mean women.  They extra specifically don’t mean feminists.

And this is where another of my favourite issues comes up: the entitlement complex of the left.

Because the only way this makes sense to me is if those people who are telling feminists to shut up about fucking sexual assault are assuming that they’re safe in doing so.  It’s not like we can stand up and say “well screw you and your thinly-veiled sexism, I’m voting for a party that’s openly misogynist!  Haha!”  It’s not like we’re all going to flip them the bird and refuse to vote at all in their inherently patriarchal set-up-for-men’s-interests system, right?*

So they feel safe saying “shut up about your silly women’s issues”.  Because we have to be on their side.  And gods know that they do have a tiny point in that openness about any issues in the Occupy movement will be instantly leapt upon by the media machine as proof that these protesters are just silly/stupid/ignorant/evil/selfish/dysfunctional/doomed to failure.

But it coincidentally also allows them to go on pretending to be amazing revolutionaries sticking it to The Man without questioning their privilege or deep-seated impulse to defend rape culture.

Myself, I’m a fan of professional wrestling (and True Blood, and the occasional trashy romance novel, and South Park) and a ranty feminist blogger.  I can cope with the notion of actively critiquing the things I hold dear and admitting they’re not perfect. Dare you to give it a go, dudes.

~

*Some radfems probably will/do, but I assume the dudebros don’t tend to read their blogs.

Gimme an E, gimme an N, gimme a … TITLEMENT!

I know how this one is going to play, dear readers.  It’s just going to be another evil, spiteful, bitchy, undermining, white-anting hysterical rant from a no-name bitch who no one likes who just hates Labour because she’s evil, and is just too picky, etc etc, and you know what?  Go for your life.  At this point I’m treating the whole thing as an historical exercise, writing down my thoughts now so in years ahead I can look back and say “fuck I was smart back then”.

And I do also understand that this is how politics works: find something that vaguely aligns to this week’s hot topic, and use it to try to turn the conversation back to yourself.

And I’ve previously said that it cannot be difficult for the left to put child poverty firmly on the agenda this election.

So when the Child Poverty Action Group’s report, Left Further Behind, got released last week, it was inevitable that as many parties as possible (the Nats and ACT excluded for fairly obvious reasons) would jump up with their hands in the air to cry “teacher, teacher, I have important thoughts on this!” like that beardy bastard in first-year philosophy/pols classes who thinks wasting half the class musing on the topic of “but is it not perhaps natural for man to seek a leader?” will really impress the professor.

Labour, the Greens, and the Maaori Party, step right up.

Of course they were going to make this report about themselves.  Of course you were going to get press releases with titles like “More evidence shows need for a plan to end child poverty” with the ever-so-subtle implication, “AND WE HAVE THAT PLAN”.

But I’m sorry, Labourites, yours in particular?  Just a bit too far.

Here’s the context.  Labour introduced Working for Families.  CPAG made a complaint about Working for Families discriminating on the basis of family status.  Labour, in government, fought damned hard against CPAG, with Crown Law even demanding a judicial review on the basis that CPAG, not being itself a starving beneficiary child, could not make such a complaint.

Now, CPAG’s report covers the introduction of WFF, noting it wasn’t as generous as a similar scheme in Australia (p51), and didn’t make allowance for big events like the recession or Pike River putting people involuntarily out of work (something the current Government kinda dealt with.) (p58)  They agree that yes, things have got worse under NACT, and yes, they note that many many more children would have been in poverty today without WFF.

On p51, CPAG further notes that Labour is rethinking its attitude to WFF, and quotes Annette King on the subject.  But a bit of a newsflash here:  this is not CPAG jumping on some awesome Labour bandwagon, this is CPAG saying thanks for finally fucking listening to us on this, peeps.

Labour is also mentioned in other sections on removing GST from fruit and veg, the repeal of s59, early childhood education etc etc.

But no, sorry, Annette, sorry, Labour media team, sorry, Labour supporters; Left Further Behind contains not a single hint that CPAG “supports” Labour’s policies.  Which is not really surprising, since CPAG is going for that whole “not politically affiliated” vibe.*

The Labour fans out there, no doubt already marshalling the usual “but John Key is Satan”, “but Labour is our last best hope for peace” lines, will not doubt point out that the press release doesn’t specifically say that CPAG are specifically explicitly and deliberately advocating in favour of Labour’s policies.

Not good enough, my friends.

Because the headline of the press release is

Labour welcomes Child Poverty Action Group support

Not even “Labour welcomes CPAG report” or “Labour endorses CPAG report” or “Labour’s policies in line with CPAG report”.

If the only thing you read (and please, stop for a moment to consider the standards of our mainstream media) was the headline, you would certainly come away with the impression that CPAG had endorsed Labour in some way.

Sorry, but they didn’t.

Then consider nice weaselly statements like

The … report released today confirms Labour’s policies

… when it doesn’t say anything about Labour’s policies …

I am pleased that so many organisations are coming together with the shared view that we must all do better for our children.

… as though CPAG were a new kid on the block in this area and just happened to have a really appropriate name …

and absolutely most fucking egregiously:

The Child Poverty Action Group has mirrored much of the policy that has already been announced by Labour

Mirrored.  MIRRORED. Y’all may want to accuse me of being petty and pedantic, but you know what mirrors do?  Reflect things that are already there.  Obvious implication of this statement?  Labour already thought of this first and CPAG are just joining in.

Can’t think where I’ve heard that one before.

I’d hate to think that this is actually part of some official Labour key messages document:  “Always speak as though all good things are inspired by us”, “always act as though we had every good idea first”.  But it’s becoming a bit of a theme, and it’s far too closely related to “always act as though we are the one true leftwing god”, “the Greens are filthy traitors stealing our rightful votes” attitudes.

Child poverty is a serious fucking deal in NZ, and God knows I’m happy to see any party taking it seriously.  But Labour has a pretty shit track record on this one, and it’s not one they’re keen to talk about (another recurring meme).  So frankly, peeps, I am not looking in that direction for any actual answers.

I’m going to look to groups like CPAG.  Here’s what they have to say about the future of eliminating child poverty (p73):

There are very good arguments for a universal payment, but in 2011 we have very wide income disparities and we do not have progressive taxation to fund redistribution. In addition, the poorest children miss out on payments in the current system because payments are tied to their parents’ paid work activity, not solely to income.

A universal payment alone is incapable of addressing child poverty with the current restrictions: fiscally it would mean that in order to make a payment to children that alleviated poverty, the payment level would have to be so high that we could not do it without either raising the top tax rates considerably to pay for it, or sacrificing some other worthy spending. Eliminating poverty has to be the first priority and this requires targeting assistance to the lowest income families. It would be possible (and desirable) to have a universal dimension, comparatively small initially, but the most significant assistance in the immediate future will need to be targeted at the poorest children. This could be the first step towards a universal payment for all children.

I’m sure they’d be happy for political parties to push these ideas, free of charge.  But acting like this report actively supports any specific party, particularly Labour? Acting like this is some kind of “me, too!” to Labour’s awesome godlike child poverty policies which date back to the dawn of Westminster? Get your fucking hand off it, mate.

~

*Just to make it crystal clear:  this is what it looks like when CPAG “supports” a Labour policy.  Just so y’all know in future.

PS.  Seriously, Labour.  All this would have taken to be a good-news story from me (because it’s all about me) was to can the entitlement complex and say “This report is good, we’re happy we can see we’re going in the right direction, we did make mistakes last time and we’re not going to do it again.”  How hard is that?  Once you’ve taught your leadership team to say “sorry”, that is.

A “bad Labour” does, in fact, make it *worse*

I feel like I’ve been making this argument forever, but I’m prompted to make it again by this post at Imperator Fish (the title of which must be satirical … except that as I’ve already predicted, it’s probably going to be used a lot more seriously on 27 November).

Scott states:

Even if there’s some fair comment amidst a great deal of the carping I’ve heard about Labour and its leadership, direction, PR, etc, it doesn’t change the fact that a bad Labour’s still (in my totally unbiased opinion) miles better than a good National.

Well, to continue my horrid carping, Scott, that’s not a fact.  It’s an opinion. Like you just said, in fact.

Here’s a few scenarios to kinda prove my point:

Scenario one: My personal, entirely uneducated, pick

The polls turn out to be [roughly, and surprisingly] on target and National scrapes in with a set of agreements allowing them to deal with ACT, the Maori Party, maybe even the Greens on certain issues, Peter Dunne if he survives.  But they don’t have the numbers to ram through the vicious rightwing agenda they really want to; for the first year or so at least, John Key wants to maintain his fluffy-bunny facade so they only partially sell our state assets, they only slightly cut taxes for the rich, they only mildly shaft the health and education systems.

By 2014, New Zealanders are starting to get bored, John Key probably fucks off to early retirement in Hawaii, Bill English and Steven Joyce enjoy a bloody feud, ACT implodes again, Labour has a proper rejuvenation of personnel and approach, and voila, a mighty [centre-]left victory ensues, in good time to renationalise our assets and save our social safety net.

Scenario two:  Labour at all costs

Labour miraculously scrapes together a coalition with the Greens and Maori Party/Mana.  ACT are trounced, Dunne vanishes, Winston bites off some of National’s base but is once again pretty much robbed when he doesn’t win a seat.

But Labour are still kinda floundering.  They’ve got capital gains tax, and that totally populist “mess about with monetary policy” policy, but Phil Goff still isn’t Helen Clark, one of the Davids gets tired of playing the waiting game (having been banking on a 2011 defeat to shake stuff up), there’s no clear direction, there’s no [authorised this time, please?] pledge card of good solid achievables for people to say “I’m glad I voted for Labour, they’ve ticked off all the boxes and really made a difference.”

2014:  the centre thinks “Well that was a fucking waste of time, wannit?” and goes back to National, which now gets to openly campaign on its vicious rightwing policies under the banner of “you gave Labour a go and they did fuck all, so clearly we’re the only people with answers”.  Labour is a one-term government and the Right claim a firm position as The Only People With A Clear Idea Of What To Do.  We get royally fucked.

Scenario three: my personal dreamland

Labour get their shit together, the All Blacks lose terribly, John Key is caught embezzling charity money, Mana and the Greens stake out nice mutually-exclusive patches of policy and take 15% between them.  A new era of socialist awesomeness dawns.

But that’s not really the point.  The point is that I have no time for the idea that any Labour under any leader with any level of cohesion is better than any National-led government.  It may feed nicely into the beltway left’s firm belief that John Key is actually Beelzebub and when the light of the full moon hits the Beehive on the equinox everyone will “wake up” and realise who their true leaders-by-right are, and it certainly dovetails with that whole entitlement complex that apparently I’ve just been making up in order to personally destroy the Labour Party.

But National, especially National led by John Key and operating in an MMP world which puts them on shaky ground for stable coalition partners, is simply not the reincarnation of Rob Muldoon, or the third coming of Roger Douglas.  And when the alternative is potentially a “bad Labour” which solidly fucks the entire left movement in this country for a decade by failing to produce a concrete, inspiring ideology … yeah.  Fuck that “fact”, Scott.  Whoops, there I go again, sowing discord, I’m such a baaaaaaad leftie.

Same ableist shit, different day

[ETA: IB has taken my comment on board and edited his post.]

Comment just posted to The Standard, on the second post in a day to make the painfully predictable “Breivik was totes cray-cray!!” argument:

Damn, IB.  I was hoping you’d not join the ever-growing list of Standard writers to throw around words like “loon” and “batshit crazy” to describe someone whose actions you simultaneously want to ascribe to logical, “sane” causes.

Yes, rightwing extremism is a problem.  Yes, violent hate speech should be challenged whenever possible.  But either those two statements are true, and there’s a societal problem which society needs to confront, OR certain people are just obviously crazy and dangerous and therefore should be pre-emptively locked up because we can all tell they’re not stable, amirite?

It’s probably obvious I’ve got an axe to grind in this fight, but here’s the thing, it’s two axes.  One about casual fucking ableism which makes the lives of people with mental illness shittier than it has to be, and one about the sheer fucking laziness of writing off violent, terrorising extremists as “nutters”.  If we allow that people like Breivik or Jared Lougher are just irrational/mentally ill/crazy/insert slur here, we deny ourselves the right to call that shit out, because the extreme Glenn Beck types who egg them on will just say “Oh, but they’re craaaaaaaaazy, it has nothing to do with my continual eliminationist rhetoric”.

So I’m going to get on my soapbox and plead with y’all.  You’ve got an opportunity to deny hate-speakers an excuse to ignore the consequences of their actions, and you get to make the world a better place.

Seriously, people.  I know we on the blogging left like to get all high and mighty about how awesomely smart we are – what kind of idiot votes for National because they like John Key’s smile, right? Who seriously watches Fox News [unless it’s for awesomely cool hipster lulz, y/y?]?

But it seems like we lose sight of the fact that the people who do vote in a way we don’t like, who do trust news sources we scoff at … are still people.  People probably getting just as, if not more, fucked on by capitalism as the rest of us.  People who don’t have the privilege of time and spoons for political awareness and sarcastic bloggery.

Those people are not insane.  I mean, do I even have to say that?  Apparently.

Because it’s not insane to be raised in a culture with ideals and memes about journalism and the news, and believe what the news tells you.

And it’s not mentally ill to accept that politicians who get elected to office, or people who write books which become bestsellers, or people with big fancy letters after their names, are people we are meant to listen to, or people who are assumed to have integrity, or people whose status indicates knowledge and entitlement to lead.

And maybe if it’s not insane to watch the news, to trust journalists, to listen to politicians, in general terms … it’s probably not insane to end up with a general sense of unease and distrust and xenophobia.  It doesn’t take mental illness to become convinced that basic democratic principles are under threat wherever one may be, and it’s not subnormal to be swayed by rhetoric and propaganda techniques developed over fucking centuries and which societies have become pretty good at using to perpetuate their own values and avoid change.

It certainly doesn’t require an assumed lack of intellect or cognitive function to gather that we are at war with [Muslim] Eurasia and have always been at war with [Muslim] Eurasia.

It’s not batshit to watch any action film produced over the last thirty years and pick up the idea that lone operatives who are the only ones who know the truth and must struggle against a conservative/ignorant/bought-and-paid-for-by-The-Man authority have to take matters into their own hands and will be proven right some day.*

It’s not a cool idea to play with, people, but we live in a world in which it is simply not illogical or utterly irrational or obviously nuts for someone to come to the belief that [insert political demon] is a threat and [insert political authority] won’t do anything about it and [insert way of life] is getting destroyed and oh, did we mention that pop and folk culture are full of awesome heroes who Made A Stand, usually with lots of guns and frequently for nationalistic purposes?

Either that, or everyone’s fucking insane and the label has no fucking meaning any more, so stop fucking using it to dehumanize people whose actions you want to pretend are inexplicable and incomprehensible (especially while also claiming that they are completely explicable because, um, you ran out of fat jokes to make about Cameron Slater).**

We might sit at our ivory fucking keyboards feeling all high-and-mighty because we never grew out of our adolescent punk/goth/anarchist/general period of saying “fuck you I won’t do what you tell me” to the world, but we are in no fucking position to pass socially-twisted pseudomedical judgment on the vast majority of the human race.  Judgment which has shitty fucking consequences for people who do experience mental illness or neuroatypicality, and judgment which destroys our own credibility in challenging extremism.

It’s not fucking hard.

~

*Have some TVTropes: Cowboy Cops, Military Mavericks, Omniscient Morality Licence, Pay Evil Unto Evil

**And since 1 in 5 people experience some mental illness in their lives, there’s going to be overlap between People Who Do [Thing I Want To Blame On Mental Illness] and People Who Have Mental Illness, but until someone works out that whole “correlation ain’t causation” thing you are welcome to blow yourself.

~

Related reading: Pay no attention to the “oversensitive” blogger with “obvious issues” behind the curtain

Why chicks dig “jerks”

George Sodini walked into a fitness club and killed three women, injured nine, and then took his own life.

He put this down to women not being attracted to him.

There’s a lot being written about his sense of entitlement (or rather, the exaggerated nature of a sense of entitlement hardly unique to him).  And a lot of people uncritically quoting the line from his blog about calculating exactly how many million “desirable” women there were (Lord knows he wasn’t bitter about the ugly “hoes” who weren’t putting out).  And of course, the Nice Guy (TM) phenomenon is getting a bit of attention; and this article at Salon gave me an eye-opening moment.

Because we’re taught to be polite, submissive, and generous even when men are making us uncomfortable, we automatically reach for the “nice guy, but…” out….

Guys, you are not being rejected because you are too nice. Niceness is a positive characteristic. I doubt any straight woman — even the kind with a stated preference for “bad boys” — has ever said to herself, “Hmm, I’d be really into this guy if he weren’t so compassionate, thoughtful, and respectful. If he’d just dick me around and insult me a little more, I’d want to rip his clothes off.” If you get rejected by every woman you approach, the problem could be a million different things, but I guarantee it’s not that you’re just too kind for your own good.

There’s an ancient, but pointed, joke.

Q.  What’s the difference between a slut and a bitch?
A.  A slut is a woman who sleeps with everyone.  A bitch is a woman who sleeps with everyone except you.

Suddenly, reading the Salon article, the skies parted, angels sang in heavenly chorus, and BOOM! Epiphany.

Listen up, Nice Guys: the idea you cling to, that women only like jerks/assholes/bad boys?

Is totally valid.

When your definition of “jerk” is “guy currently fucking the woman you want to fuck“.

And if you’re the kind of guy who conceptualizes women as a binary of “do/do not want to fuck”, and perceives all other men – especially men currently in relationships with women in the first category – then guess what?

We’re probably saying “you’re a nice guy, but …” because you give off a fucking creepy vibe and we do not want to have a confrontation with your insecurity and belief that you are owed sex by the universe.

And that’s on top of the fact that as women we’ve probably been told from day 1 of our existences to be demure/polite/quiet/dignified/submissive/accepting/passive/accommodating/to not make a fuss/cause a scene/disturb other people/shriek/nag/bitch/be shrill/loud/assertive/independent/strong/autonomous.

Not that that’ll be taken into consideration when we’re sexually harassed by higher-status influential rich white men or anything.

Abortion is not your punchline, DPF

As spotted by Eddie at The Standard, DPF has a breathtakingly satirical edge-of-your-seat parody press release up – stating that the Green Party’s real plan for reducing emissions is forced abortion of two out of three pregnancies.

Fuck you, DPF.

It’s a shit post and a shit analogy and one hell of a dogwhistle.  And on the one hand, it’s so fucking juvenile it should hardly be worth drawing attention to (except as an example of why Kiwiblog is a fucking sewer).

On the other there are aspects of this that fucking infuriate me.

Continue reading