Tagged: ain’t no story like a media-created story
Radio NZ: reputation jeopardised
[Radio New Zealand] said the way [Matthew Hooton] expressed his opinion was unacceptable, and fell well short of our standards for fairness and balance, so this week we also asked Radio New Zealand how can you be sure Matthew Hooton won’t make further politically-motivated claims in future, which might also jeopardise that even-handedness and political neutrality they value.
Well, Radio New Zealand replied that Matthew Hooton had raised a legitimate subject on Monday, in the context of Nine to Noon’s robust political debate, from the left and from the right, but its concern was the accusations of lying, which were addressed, they say, by Nine to Noon on Thursday morning’s apology and clarification.
Well Radio New Zealand also added, in live radio we can never give an absolute guarantee that comments won’t be made by contributors which might jeopardise our reputation for even-handedness and political neutrality, but we will continue, they say, to do all that we can to maintain that reputation.
From Mediawatch, 29 September 2013.
Segment starts at 9:23, quote from 16:51-17:47
You know what actually “jeopardises your reputation”, Radio NZ?
1. Claiming that Matthew Hooton’s comments were raising a legitimate subject but that it was the accusations of lying which were the problem. The subject he raised WAS the accusations of lying. THAT’S ALL HE SAID.
2. Crying about the dinnamic environment of live radio when you’ve already set a precedent for refusing to re-hire commentators who spew crap all over your microphones.
3. Saying you’ll do “all that you can” to maintain your reputation while also [GO TO 2].
4. Referring to anything which happens on Nine to Noon involving Matthew Hooton and Mike “I agree with Matthew” Williams as “robust political debate”.
(Oh, and obviously we now have a new bar for measuring one’s political gullibility: when Matthew Hooton says “There’s a growing sense”, do you assume it’s only growing because he keeps mentioning it? If so, congratulations: you can grasp basic political strategy. Moreso than Nine to Noon’s producers, apparently.)
Talking about labiaplasty
I was emailed the link to this article on the NZ Herald about the rise of labiaplasty.
It’s actually not the absolute-worst article in the world and contains some really good input from Dr Virginia Braun of the University of Auckland and George Christy Parker of Women’s Health Action Trust. They cover concepts like a lack of good sex education and understanding that our bodies are diverse and unique things.
The only person who’s actually saying labiaplasty is on the rise is Dr Murray Beagley. Who makes a living performing labiaplasty. He’s quick to talk about not being judgemental and not enforcing beauty standards … but then he turns around and says “of course if I wasn’t doing labiaplasty there’d be plenty of other surgeries I would be doing” – as though pretty much all of those aren’t part of the same set of beauty standards.
He also keeps slipping into body-judging phrasing, like when he talks about “whether we should prioritise [people] with protruding labia over [people] with pendulous breasts” – i.e. treating protruding labia and pendulous breasts as inherent problems to be solved.
As a person with pendulous breasts: go fuck yourself, Dr Beagley.
But the thing which most pisses me off, dear readers?
Headline of video: “Labiaplasty: creating the perfect vagina?”
Headline of article: “Vagina surgery on the rise in NZ”
Herald subeditors may find the following diagram helpful.
I mean, can anyone actually quantify the amount of irony involved in the Herald publishing a report which talks about a lack of information about what genitals look like without managing to work out that the labia ARE NOT THE SAME FUCKING THING as the vagina?
And why do I have the strangest feeling that an article about testicle-related surgery wouldn’t be headlined “Penis surgery on the rise”? Or that such an article would never be written in the first place?
Greens announce non-racist policy; 3News decides to make it racist
The Green Party are supporting moves to limit the ability of non-New Zealanders to buy property in New Zealand, following a poll which showed 2/3 of respondents agreed with the idea.
3News decided in its infinite wisdom to jazz up this story by staking out several auctions on Auckland’s North Shore and reporting on how many of the properties went to people who looked Asian.
Sadly, journalist-of-the-people Patrick Gower (and of course it was Patrick Gower) was unable to detain these filthy home-purchasers and demand to see their papers, meaning we may never know how many people-who-can-service-mortgages-and-also-have-different-shaped-us-to-us-white-folk are living among us.
One of them could be behind you right now. Maybe more. They are ninjas, after all. *rimshot*
So all Patrick Gower can tell us is that in 20 minutes, 3 houses were auctioned, all to Asians. He apparently doesn’t even have the services of an intern to check – and add boring old context to the story – that the Asian population of the former North Shore City was 18.5% in the 2006 census.
Personally, I haven’t thought enough about the issue to have a stated opinion either way, but the fact is that while many of the people who answered “yes” to the Reid Research poll are almost certainly racist, and almost certainly picture people of colour – probably their idea of “Asians” – when they think about Foreigners Taking Our Houses, the fact is that a blanket ban on all non-New Zealand residents buying property here isn’t inherently racist.
It’s pretty xenophobic, but that is, actually, a different thing.
It may become racist in practice if our immigration laws unfairly give advantage to white English-speaking people, which they probably do.
Story-time, though: I was in a lecture in my first year of uni, waiting for the lecturer to arrive, when one student – who, yes, was of Asian ethnicity – was approaching by another student of Asian ethnicity and asked to take part in a survey of international students. After sending the inquirer politely on her way, the first student burst into an epic rant on why the fuck did she always get asked to do those bloody surveys, she’s a fucking Kiwi for fuck’s sake, her family have been here forever but everyone always assumes she’s an international student who can’t speak English just because she looks Asian!
It was an eye-opener for the young Queen of Thorns, because of course I too had assumed she was a foreigner based on her physical appearance. Turned out her family had probably been in New Zealand as long as mine.
The earliest Chinese settler in recorded NZ history was Wong Ahpoo Hock Ting, who arrived here in 1842. By 1869 there were over 2,000 Chinese men living in New Zealand – women migrated very rarely. From 1881 to 1944 an unquestionably racist poll tax sought to keep the number of Chinese people entering New Zealand down, which makes this whole story kind of ironic.
The basic fact is: Patrick Gower and 3News ran a racist piece of shit masquerading as in-depth reporting. They deliberately conflated “foreigner” with “Asian”, which is especially terrible of them given this little nugget from the 2008/09 North Shore City Council annual report:
For people born overseas who are now living in North Shore City, the most common birthplace was England.
Maybe next week Paddy could stake out some auctions and breathlessly report on how many of the successful bids came from people with BBC accents. No? I rest my case.
I henceforth dub myself Lady Taboo
So, before we get into the meat of this story, here’s apparently what it takes to get a paid gig in the Herald:
- Quote the New York Times
- Quote the Huffington Post responding to the New York Times
- Make some Shelley Bridgeman-esque comments which show you don’t understand the concepts being discussed
- Quote Jezebel responding to the New York Times
- Name-drop Charlie Brooker and Caitlin Moran to establish cool cred
Really? At least John Armstrong has to look like he’s working.
But the matter at hand is of course the overblown, overplayed, overhyped issue of Ladies Swearing. We have to say “ladies”, not “women”, because it emphasises the terrible naughtiness of the bad words.
And that’s only the start of the bingo. One quote says “I may get my bra-burning card revoked for this”, which is secret code for “look at me, boys, I’m not one of those feminists” but actually, to anyone who knows basic feminist history, just makes you look like a snivelling tryhard. Author Rebecca Kamm nails #3 with this musing:
First of all, isn’t swearing odd? We open our gobs and emit an ultimately arbitrary sound – it should be harmless. Yet what comes out can feel like a slap in the face, splashing dark paint over all the other innocent words.
Shit! The sounds we make with our mouths have meaning assigned to them by others? Meanings which are actually arbitrary? This is amazing! I’m going to call this brand-new concept speech.
But that’s okay, it just proves Rebecca is totally above all that societal stuff, which is why she’s qualified to tell us that actually swearing is gross, but real feminists understand that it’s gross no matter who is doing it.
UNLESS THEY’RE A COOL, CLEVER PERSON LIKE CHARLIE BROOKER OR CAITLIN MORAN OF COURSE.
I mean, I’m not even going there with Caitlin Moran, and will instead refer you to this most excellent parody Twitter account.
But that last little bit there? Pretty much sums up my fucking problem with hand-wringing pearl-clutching discussions of swearing.
It’s classist. It assumes that swearing is something low, dirty, uneducated people do because they don’t know how to express themselves like Proper Gentlefolk. (See also: similar “all I’m saying is I don’t like it” criticisms of non-standard forms of English. Especially those used predominantly by people of colour.)
Oh, but if you’re a clever person, if you’re somebody which has been handed a Cool Edgy Clever Celebrity licence, then saying fuck is totally edgy and radical and thought-provoking and it makes you kind of sexy and dangerous. Because people already know that you’re not a dirty uneducated poor person, so your swearing is ironic.
My swearing is not ironic. I swear because it adds emphasis. (In some contexts, I swear because Mythbusters totally proved it increases pain tolerance.) I swear because I like playing around with words. I definitely swear because it challenges people’s preconceptions about me as a middle-class, varsity-educated white girl from a Good Family.
And I also swear because I’m a fucking New Zealander, and swearing is pretty part-and-parcel of our particular brand of English, and because the people who most often write about how uncouth and vulgar Those Young People are getting are in fucking denial. I’m sorry, people, the Toyota “bugger” ad came out fourteen fucking years ago. No one complained about the “where the bloody hell are you” ad in 2006 because it was dirty, they complained because it was fucking naff (and would have had far better rhythm if they dropped the “bloody”).
Of course, I’d probably swear a lot less if we didn’t have a mainstream media containing items like the Herald, happily publishing columns like this one (and don’t start me on Shelley Bridgeman) which … honestly, I still don’t actually know what Kamm’s point was, or why it couldn’t have been conveyed far more clearly in a tweet.
The only poll that matters is on election day
So, recent polls have shown a minor upward blip for Labour. A minor downward blip for National. Ergo, David Shearer must immediately appear on TV to extrapolate why and make big sexy claims about how The Gap Is Narrowing and We Will Clearly Return To The Treasury Benches In
Any time in the next month or so, another poll will appear showing a minor blip upward for National, and a minor blip downward for Labour, and then it’ll be John Key’s turn to brag about how The Public Clearly Supports Our Direction and Labour Has No Vision For Noo Zilnd.
And so it will continue. Even the people who openly state that they know better – e.g. some of my fellow bloggers and commenters on The Standard – will still try to make something of the trend, or the historical poll biases in play, or calculate which political headline hit at the plum point of the polling period and thus explains the result.
The only poll that matters is election day. And any politician – but especially one whose party is still sucking bigtime compared to the glory days of not that long ago – needs to say only one thing when a “favourable” poll result comes through: the only poll that matters is election day. If you must, throw in a key message about The Voters Will Decide or something.
Because as soon as you buy into the idea that that one favourable poll means something, you’ve bought into the idea that the next unfavourable poll means something. As soon as you say look an upward trend you’ve handed your opponent the right to retort nope, it’s a downward trend as soon as they can scrape two data points together.
Sure, keep doing your internal polling, if you really want to run a political party on the basis of amoral populism instead of having principles and putting your case to the people of New Zealand and trusting in that democracy thing we have to accept or reject your arguments. If you must.
But please, pollies. (Especially David Shearer.) Stop dignifying bullshit landline polls like they mean anything, especially this far out from an election. Or, if you must, stop complaining later on that the media are only interested in shallow numbers stories instead of Big Serious Policy. You’re feeding the monster, you clean up its shit.
Consider the variables. Weather. Ministerial resignations. Expense scandals. Winston Peters, John Tamihere, Colin Craig, John Ansell. Epsom, Ohariu, the Maaori seats. David Cunliffe, Judith Collins. No Rugby World Cup. Shifting voter demographics. Turnout.
Consider that election day is actually a bit of a big deal and many people may be wavering between two or three options as they enter the voting both. Greens, Labour, Mana? Dunne or Shanks? Make a statement with a Green candidate vote or compromise your real principles to boot out Paula Bennett?
Polls in 2012 mean fuck all for Election Day 2014. Tell the journos that the only poll that matters is on election day, and get on with your bloody job.
More on Armstrong
Gordon Campbell and Bryce Edwards have now both responded to Armstrong’s comments, in far more mature tones than I managed, but if anything that just illustrates how ridiculous it was for Armstrong to rant about “bloggers” and “parasites” while attacking well-respected real-name columnists.
Between the lines in Armstrong’s column, a morality play is being presented. It is a pageant in which he, the humble scribe from the mainstream media, is heroically doing the hard yards under deadline and dutifully observing the rules of good journalism – while Bryce Edwards and I are being cast as the Flash Harrys from the blogosphere who allegedly (a) reek of bias (b) feed parasitically on the fruits of his honest graft and (c) pay scant heed to the facts and to the truth. What a pair of arrant bounders we are!
I believe I have given Armstrong’s political commentary the prominence it is due since my daily roundup began. No doubt our interpretation and view of politics differs at times, but the reference to ‘bile and invective’ leaves me at a loss to explain.
More posts on the topic have been from Russell Brown and Bomber (yes they’re up front because they linked to me, deal), Damian Christie, and Zetetic at The Standard. In a wonderfully ironic way it’s kind of proving Armstrong’s point, buried beneath all his self-pity, but what kind of parasites would we be if we weren’t talking about this?
Blogging parasite reporting for duty
Everyone on Twitter’s been savaging poor innocent John Armstrong enough already, but … well, I had nothing else to sharpen my claws on, so here goes.
John Armstrong’s complaint, basically, is that the “blog-a-tariat” (spot the person who is seriously not comfortable with 21st century netspeak) are mean about him, and don’t understand just how difficult it is having to travel overseas, hob-nob with international hob-nobs, and get to come back to throw your toys out of the cot on a major media website for pay.
I mean, have you pathetic wastrels ever tried to write insightful analysis of what Bronagh Key wore to meet the First Lady when you can’t charge your BlackBerry? It’s a fucking hard-knock life, that one.
But it’s all just a little ridiculous, for one key reason: John Armstrong is not having a go at bloggers. He’s having a go at Gordon Campbell and Bryce Edwards, two well-regarded real-name-using also-doing-it-for-pay (one assumes) major-media-published writers, who happen to kinda blog, if only because Scoop is an online-only publication and all Edwards’ Politics Daily columns get reprinted at Liberation.
John, basically, has jumped on the Josie Pagani/Fran O’Sullivan bandwagon of having a whinge about the evil online commentariat who hate your freedoms … but not quite figured out that that line works a hell of a lot better when you can snark about our silly pseudonyms than when you’re attacking a well-regarded columnist and a politics lecturer.
He compounds the whole thing by doing that absolutely classic mainstream-media-trying-to-work-interwebs thing: attacking “bloggers” for “not letting the facts get in the way” at the same time as not linking to the posts he is responding to. Sure, this column was likely originally intended for the print version of the Herald (clearly where its largest audience is … wat?) but it’s just common internet sense to include links – if only to reassure your readers that your whinging has a basis in fact.
Of course, this might lead people to read Gordon Campbell’s post which has so incited John’s ire by saying:
BTW, the informed critical analysis of APEC and its bearing on the TPP process provided by the Canadian media was noticeably absent from the New Zealand coverage.
Then John’s readers might think, “Hmm. Maybe I’ll look at John’s own reporting from APEC.” And then they might find this article, which I’m almost tempted to copy-paste in its entirety for humour value. I won’t, because I’m not Bob McCoskrie, so here’s the piercing, engaged-with-the-big-issues-of-the-day opener:
A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs official locked in her room for 45 minutes; a posse of Kiwi journalists stuck in a lift at the International Press Centre … it must be the Curse of Russky Island.
Wait, now, let’s give John his due, he’s probably just trying to get in an interesting hook to keep the reader’s interest through some dry, in-depth coverage of global political discussions. Like this:
Strangely, borscht – Russia’s national dish – is off the menu. Authorities were worried visitors would take exception to one of the ingredients, beets, because they are only fed to animals in some countries.
Oh, okay, I’m being mean, clearly this is just a light-hearted wrap-up of events. Earlier in the scene, John was far more informative. In his first report, he talked about how Russia doesn’t really give a shit about APEC, or at least I think that’s what he got on to after rambling on about how cool it was that Jenny Shipley totes met Vladimir Putin before he was cool. In his second, he brings us cutting-edge news about the infrastructural development of Vladivostok.
Hold me the fuck back.
What did APEC achieve? What were they even meant to talk about? For the kiddies forced at gunpoint to read the Herald for social studies, what the fuck IS APEC? John does not tell us. He was probably too busy being stuck in the awful traffic of Tokyo and trying to find a compatible cellphone charger.
Anyway, it’s not John’s fault that he had nothing of depth to report on (even though he’s just spent half his column saying he totally has reported on issues of depth) because after all:
Adding to journalists’ problems is that Apec meetings are closed. Discovering what really happens requires talking to more than one delegation as every delegation has motives for saying what it is saying to its media contingent,
Which can only make me wonder why the fuck the Herald bothers to send John on these terrible paid overseas trips. Surely he can copy-paste governmental press releases from NZ?
(Yes, the original does end with a comma. I don’t know either.)
And if Armstrong had linked to Bryce Edwards’ post on the subject, they might have read this line:
There was a lot build-up and reporting from the APEC meeting in Vladivostok, but nothing much actually seemed to happen. There are only so many ways you can work ‘Pussy Riot’ into a story about trade negotiations
And then they might find this article by John Armstrong, curiously not published on the helpful APEC page, which manages to mention the band’s name twice without actually addressing why John Key would even be discussing an all-girl punk band with the President of Russia. Oh, context. You’re delicious but so fattening, we can’t have any or it’ll go straight to our hips.
But the ultimate punchline has to go to some smart cookie on the Herald’s web team. They filed John’s little cryfest under “Best of Political Analysis.”
The TL;DR version? John Armstrong basically tries to denigrate Gordon Campbell and Bryce Edwards by referring to them as mere bloggers, throws his toys out of the cot and demands we tell him he’s a good little journalist. He’s not. He has the immense privilege of getting his opinion published for money in one of the major newspapers of our country, he gets paid to hang out with our elected leaders, and for all that he can’t fucking hack a little statement-of-the-obvious about how NZ media in general report on international politics.
Boo fucking hoo.
H/T Jackal for id’ing and linking to the two key posts by Campbell and Edwards
ETA: For more commentary, rather more sympathetic to Armstrong, see Dim Post
Evil yoof drinking again
(Ironically, this post was written after a few glasses of high-price bubbly)
If I’m going to keep getting into arguments about this on The Standard, I figured I might as well lay out my thinking here on the drinking age question. An earlier post on the topic is here.
Here’s the martyred cries I keep hearing:
“But we have a terrible drinking culture and we have to protect kids from it!”
These are “kids” who can vote, drive, fuck, get married, and join our military to die overseas. And yet even when we’re acknowledging that the drinking culture in this country is a problem created by an older generation who also like to binge drink and drive drunk, somehow we feel justified in punishing young, yet grown, adults for our own cock-ups.
It’s patronising and shitty, and anyone who genuinely remembers being a teenager will figure out pretty quickly that it’s also counterproductive.
“But drinking causes harm in ways marriage and voting doesn’t!”
Right, because voting in a reactionary rightwing government which will strip our assets and throw beneficiaries on the streets is much better than a couple of people vomiting into the otherwise-pristine gutters of Courtenay Place.
“But alcopops are terrible!”
If you’re calling them “alcopops”, I immediately assume you’re over 30 and have no fucking idea what you’re talking about. It’s like drugs: when the media starts panicking about “Liquid Fantasy” you can bet any amount of money you like that no teen worth their salt is calling it that stupid name.
I literally had to sit relatives of mine down to convince them that “alcopops” are not, in fact, available in your local dairy. You can buy them at liquor stores or bars, places where you should already be showing ID to purchase alcohol.
“But older people buy the alcohol for younger people!”
Yes. Usually their parents. But clearly the problem here is booze-hungry youngsters.
“But you shouldn’t be able to buy alcohol when you’re still at school!”
Sucks to be a 21-year-old who’s still at school then. And really, really sucks that you might be 18, still at school, and able to FUCK, GET MARRIED, DRIVE AND JOIN THE MILITARY but not have a beer to celebrate any of these things.
“But kids don’t realise how alcoholic those alcopops are!”
Still with the “alcopops”. Seriously, it’s a stupid name. Stop it.
You know what happens if you drink a 6-pack of Vodka Cruisers? (Probably not, you’re still calling them “alcopops”.) You really need to pee after about an hour. And then you get a wacky sugar high which you may mistake for drunkenness, and then an hour after that you crash out and need to find a warm sofa.
And that’s assuming you had them all to yourself and weren’t splitting it three ways with Charlene and Rhonda.
You know how most teens drink themselves to death? Sculling straight vodka. Trying to drink a 40-oz of tequila in one night. Because, oh wait, no one has taught them how to drink responsibly. Probably because Mummy and Daddy were too busy going off and getting pissed themselves to actually deal with mind-altering drugs and their children’s impending adulthood.
Alternatively, they can’t access alcohol and it’s a total Forbidden Fruit so instead – because they’re teenagers and teenagers are not particularly clever when they’re looking to have fun and get blotto – they huff paint thinner and die.
“But it’s the kids waiting outside bottle stores getting strangers to buy their alcopops that are the problem!”
The problem still seems to be that some adults don’t take our laws seriously. Explain how this is the fault of a 14-year-old whose life is so shit they’ll do anything to forget it, including drink shitty red wine.
“But alcopops are so much stronger than other drinks!”
Another line frankly trotted out by those who have forgotten teenagehood. Protip: teenagers aren’t fucking bartenders. If they’re not drinking shitty red wine in big anxious gulps, they’re pooling their resources on a shitty bottle of gin and mixing it half-and-half with orange juice because they heard about that in a song once.
Or, you know, they’re sculling straight vodka. Much safer. It’s sterile, you know.
“But I saw a story where A&E doctors totally said the problem was worse!”
Yes, such stories are always completely reliable.
“But [insert media channel here] showed young people getting really drunk!”
If everyone who ever uttered this would like to provide proof of their ability to magically tell a drunk 21-year-old from a drunk 20-years-and-10-months-old, I’m sure the bouncing industry has jobs just waiting for them.
We have a problematic drinking culture in this country. It is shown whenever someone suggests lowering the drink driving limit and the rural sector suddenly explode because how dare we transgress against a man’s right to shear a hundred sheep, get off-his-face on Speights, and then drive home with a 50/50 risk of killing another human being.
It is shown when the main objection I recall to raising alcohol taxes is that the poor superannuitants Who Gave Their Lives For Our Country won’t be able to buy as much sherry.
It is shown when major cities have utter shitfights over who gets to host the Sevens, or the V8s. Which are both of course all about the sport.
Yet who gets to hold the can for this? The young people who haven’t even figured out their relationships with alcohol yet. The young people who are trusted to fuck, trusted to sign documents tying them to another person in eternity, trusted to hold a gun and fight for our country or alternatively the US’ imperialist interests of the day, trusted to drive a vehicle and yet are not trusted to have a glass of wine with friends after work.
We protect young people by displaying a better fucking attitude to alcohol ourselves. We show young people that drunkenness can be fun if you keep a handle on things and know how you’re getting home, but that it’s not a holy grail of funtimes and the only way to enjoy yourself ever.
Maybe we could even take a serious fucking look at our youth suicide rates and wonder if maybe we’ve made life so empty and shit for our young adults that it’s no fucking wonder some of them see getting plastered as the only way to feel happy and free.
But nah, you’re right. Far too much work. Let’s just throw young adults under the bus and act all surprised when the rates of hospitalisation and binge-drinking shift upwards with each well-intentioned effort to Save The Youngsters From Themselves.
Let’s play “find the evidence” – foetal alcohol syndrome edition
So the next theatre of the war against pregnant people is going to be our terrible binge-drinking ways, apparently.
You can always spot these Issue Of The Day Which Is Actually Not An Issue stories by the way they go on and on and on about “evidence” yet produce none (see also: rainbow parties, gay marriage destroying society, obesity epidemic).
This story from Radio NZ is a wonderful illustration of this point:
The National Addiction Centre says there may be as many as 3000 children born in New Zealand each year with the syndrome.
Actual numbers of children identified with said syndrome? Sadly not provided.
Director Doug Sellman says evidence shows the situation is far worse in New Zealand than in other countries, due to the binge drinking culture here.
Actual statistics comparing us to other nations, especially other nations known for getting pissed up large? Sadly not provided.
Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills says there has been an explosion in the number of children with foetal alcohol syndrome.
Children’s Commissioner’s actual facts and figures about the number of children with FAS? Sadly not provided.
A Northland school principal says he sees about three children a year with foetal alcohol syndrome and their lives are ruined by it. …
Actual statistics for the Northland region? Sadly not provided. Roll size of the school in question and comparison to nationwide rates of FAS? Sadly not provided. Principal’s medical degree which qualifies him to diagnose FAS? Sadly not provided.
Identification of Northland as a poorer region more likely to have higher rates of alcoholism, drug abuse, and lower rates of preventative healthcare, to name just a few possible contributing factors? Sadly not provided.
Disclaimer that the “journalist” in question didn’t just shop around schools until a convenient horror story came along? Sadly not provided.
The actual point of the entire article?
Mr Newman says the mothers of foetal alcohol syndrome children are often very young, and it is heart-breaking to see the damage they have inflicted on their children by drinking while pregnant.
He says drinking in pregnancy is a form of child abuse and should be a criminal offence.
There we go. Let’s pass laws to control the irresponsible wimminz who are ruining precious babies’ lives.
Other things sadly not provided in this 478-word story?
- Any kind of analysis of the level of support young pregnant people get
- Any kind of addressing the fact that “yoof binge drinking” doesn’t just spring up out of nowhere and maybe when young people’s parents stop having shitfights over which city gets to host
an excuse for drinkingThe Sevens or another excuse for drinkingThe Sacred V8s, or when our Parliament doesn’t clutch its collective pearls at the notion of Denying The Elderly Their Sherry, They Fought For Our Freedoms, then we can point accusing fingers at those teenagers who just magically decided getting off their face was funny
- Any discussion of what constitutes “binge” or “excessive” drinking, and what level of drinking is actually connected with FAS. I mean, it’s not like this shit isn’t on Wikipedia, for a start.
Before anyone wants to jump in and say “YOU JUST HATE BABIES AND THINK WOMEN SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO ANYTHING THEY WANT”, here’s the thing: when people have dependency problems, prohibition has historically achieved fuck all. When people are, say, poor, pregnant, unemployed and living in fucking Northland, they may have a hell of a lot more crap on their plate to worry about than being perfect incubators. When the prospect of being pregnant (and probably unable to access abortion services because it makes influential old dudes cry) is actually a really fucking terrible one, some people may well hit the bottle hard.
Hating on pregnant people, banning The Demon Drink, sure, all that is going to make smug wankers feel totally awesome. It isn’t going to fix the problem, it isn’t going to improve the lives of the people affected by this problem, but that’s never really the point, is it?
ETA: But wait, there’s more! What’s wrong with this statement?
He told Radio New Zealand on Friday that the source of the problem was that women were drinking during pregnancy.
He said 40 percent of pregnancies were unplanned.
Gee, maybe some comprehensive sex education, better access and information about contraception, and generally giving people the ability and autonomy to plan their own reproduction could help with that! Wait, no, BAN DRINKING. Next up: seafood, oranges, good cheese.
Are you fucking kidding me Naomi Madelin
Unbelievable quote of the day:
Eighty-four per cent of people arrested for family violence are men. Half of all violent crime in New Zealand is family violence. The statistics go on. Perhaps the way to give men a chance is for women to appreciate their own femininity more.
The rationale being, apparently, that women trying to be more masculine are the ones “sending the message” that being manly is better … because violence is an inherent part of manliness (and remember, it’s us nasty unshaven feminists who hate men, right) and what the fuck am I even reading.
Oh, right. I’m reading an SST article by a freelance writer who starts off acting outraged about something Wikipedia says (unfortunately, said quote cannot be verified by Google), then insists femininity isn’t just about wearing frocks, it’s about how we carry ourselves, and seriously seems to think that women choose to deny their inner need for frills in a complete absence of dominant culture which might, you know, treat men as the default, the norm, the aspirational.
I don’t know where to start, but I know where Naomi Madelin could’ve fucking started: a basic Google search for some feminism 101 blogging on masculinity and the construction of gender, looking up the notion of high femme or the active and long-standing debate about traditional femininity and feminism, picking up the OED, or, I know, having a fucking clue about something before she churned out an erratic, incoherent attack-piece yet again laying the fault for all the world’s ills on stupid, silly women.