Tagged: blogosphere

Rule reiteration: the Jezebel rule

My first post on the Jezebel Rule stated thus:

I made a decision a wee while ago to just unfollow anyone on Twitter who retweeted anything from Jezebel (in a non-criticising way)

Then, the supporting evidence was Jezebel’s appropriation of the term “hipster racism”, coined at Racialicious in 2006.  Jezebel, being the awesome right-on feminist online magazine that it is, saw no problem in publishing the work of a white woman (Lindy West) casually borrowing the work of a woman of colour, Carmen Van Kerckhove, without so much as a “props to Carmen for the great neologism!”

Prior to that of course there was that whole “let’s publish an article by some guy the editors know about how cool French chicks are about being constantly sexually harassed, unlike you uptight American bitches” thing.

The latest?  Oh, just a little bit of attacking a site for posting women’s pictures without their consent … while reproducing the same pictures without the women’s consent.

Exploitation is different if you’re doing it for great pageviews justice, obviously.

The arguments when people attack Jezebel or xojane are usually of the “but not all the stuff they publish is horrific, exploitative/oppressive linkbait!” variety.  And I do get that a lot of good writers – especially a lot of the good fat acceptance writers since Shapely Prose shut down –  are writing on those sites.

But I, personally, just do not have the time or patience or tolerance for that shit to support even the good pieces.  It’s all tainted by continual, massive fuckups which can only be remedied with firing people, buying a new domain name and starting over.

A pretty bouquet!

I was directed to this post by “Cactus Kate” from comments on The Standard, and was highly flattered:

[QoT] must surely now defeat myself as the owner of the most invective of any New Zealand female blogger.  This year definitely.  Her anger is unmatched here.  I cannot compete.  Bless the earth if you got on the wrong side of that before noon on a weekday.

Fear my scary anger!

But it’s the sentence before that which really caught my eye:

Contrary to rumour I am not blogging as the ultra-potty mouth QoT.

I sincerely hope this isn’t just self-aggrandizing on “Cactus Kate’s” part, because if this rumour exists, I want to find the person who started it and buy them a drink.

Deja vu all over again: Labour in 2014 edition

From Dimpost on Trotter on Shearer (I feel like we’re in the beginning stages of some terrible blogging chain letter here):

My concern about a Shearer-led government is less dramatic than Trotters’. It’s that many of the senior Labour Ministers will be the usual gang of loyalist idiots, that Shearer would be unable to manage Winston Peters (assuming New Zealand First is a part of the coalition), that Labour will wage an unrelenting covert campaign against any Green Ministers, and that the whole thing will see National sail back into office three years later.

Yep.  I said it about the last election, and I’ll say it about 2014 as well:  it is not a universal truth that any-and-all configurations of Labour-led government are better for NZ than any-and-all configurations of National-led government.  Labour is not automatically the lesser of two evils in this situation, especially with ACT goneburger, the Conservatives not showing a lot of fight (just a lot of cash), and the Greens positioning themselves as a party with an actual clue, a purpose, a strong viewpoint and a soul.

The Labour government which follows this National government (whether in 2014 or 2017 or gods forbid 2020) faces one big challenge from the electorate:  show us you have an alternative, successful solution to our woes.

A Labour government which muddles around with no clear idea of what it’s doing or where it’s going, which buys into National’s rhetoric, which does pretty much a watered-down version of what National would have done themselves only while telling us that “we’re the ones who really care” … that government is just going to send one big message:  we don’t have a plan, and we can’t make things better.

And then a lot of voters will stay at home [again] or jump back to National because hey, at least they act like they know what they’re doing, and I guess they were right about leftwing ideas not being practical in the real world after all, and if I’m going to be stuck in an economic downturn at least I can have more of my money in my pocket, right?

And then we’re basically fucked until things get so bad for “middle New Zealand” that a revolutionary leader can take charge of Labour/the Greens/Mana and sweep into power on a massive wave of popular support.

But that would probably take a while.

I don’t want National to win the next election.  But I’m not convinced that the current Labour Party would do a good enough job at the head of a coalition to remind voters – that big group of people who don’t really engage in politics and certainly don’t read blogs like The Standard – that there are alternatives to coldhearted neoliberal bullshit.  That collectivist approaches work better than individualist approaches.  That all-pulling-together does actually get better results.  That a strong social safety net is something to be seriously proud of.

If voters aren’t convinced of this, they’re going to stay home.  They’re going to vote for the $10 tax cut bribe.  And the Labour Party will have no grounds to whine about it.

David Shearer isn’t Jesus? No shit, Sherlock

I’m absolutely certain that Scott Yorke was not thinking of me when he wrote The Post I Never Posted.

I don’t believe I’m personally on his radar.  I think he’s responding to a wider trend of Shearer-critical posts, predominantly at The Standard.

And I can see how people who are Labour supporters are getting a little annoyed with the constant pointing out of Shearer’s many clear failings.  Look, people, we’ve already explained six times that he can’t answer basic questions about his political ideas in clear complete sentences, do we really need to go for round 7?

And I was feeling all warm and charitable about the broad variety of opinions on the New Zealand left, and how wonderful it is that we have so many leftie bloggers who can put their arguments forward for wider discussion.

And then I got to this sentence.

And even if I was wrong on that point, I went on to write, David Shearer was still not the best man for the job, because he had failed to demonstrate an ability to walk on water or bring the dead back to life.

How droll.  Scott thinks we Shearer-critics are unrealistic, over-demanding, petulant children who expect the leader of the parliamentary Labour Party to be not just the perfect politician, but messianic.

It would be a super-cutting little barb if it bore any resemblance to reality.  If, say, Shearer had blown the political debate wide open with his first big policy speech, taking the fight straight to John Key, if whoever the Labour Education spokesperson is/was had claimed the easily-findable scalp of Hekia Parata.  If, say, Labour were still only at 30-odd in the polls, but this was clearly down to a set of un-Shearer-related botches, like Shane Jones getting caught using taxpayer money for porn.  Again.  And it was Sea Shepherd-themed.

Basically, if Shearer had turned out to be a fantastic, charismatic, visionary, inspiring leader, but Labour was still doing poorly in the polls because a lot of its MPs are complete muppets … then someone like Scott might very well have a good point to make about criticisms of Shearer being based on unrealistic expectations.

Here’s what I hoped – I won’t say “expected”, since he was such an unknown quantity at the time of his election to the parliamentary Labour leader position – of David Shearer.

Look and sound better on the telly than Phil Goff did

Difficulty rating:  not found

Phil Goff was actually a damn fine speaker when he was on form, but on TV he just had an unfortunately grumpy-looking face.  Then someone worked magic behind the scenes during the 2011 campaign and he figured out how to smile.  Apparently this someone is no longer employed by the Labour parliamentary office.

Tell us what Labour is about

Difficulty rating:  minimal

I understand that I’m a big scary ranty feminist with big scary feminist political goals (like SHOCK HORROR comprehensive sex education!)  I do understand that mainstream party leaders cannot actually go on Campbell Live and say “First thing I’m going to do is make abortion legal, free and available in every town in New Zealand.”

What I feel it was entirely reasonable to expect, though?  A big, sexy commitment to a guaranteed living wage.  To a 40 hour working week.  To expanding Kiwibank, or offering a public option for KiwiSaver, to crack down on Aussie banks who don’t pay tax and millionaires who hide their assets in trusts.

What we got was analogies about lazy roof-painters not pulling their weight.

Lead the Labour caucus

Difficulty rating:  pretty low for a dude whose work experience includes literal warzones

Instead, a damn fine spokesperson and one of the most competent (one might almost say one of the only competent) frontbench MPs gets paddled over a non-coup … and Shane Jones shits all over the Green Party while Clare Curran antagonises the biggest online ally the party has.

Take the hammer to National when the opportunity presents itself

Difficulty:  kinda your job

Remember how David Shearer completely caned John Key over the Christchurch school closures debacle?  That was totally awesome!  … Wait, the dude with the big ears who says “marvellous” all the time isn’t David Shearer?  He’s a journalist, you say?  Well damn.

And yes, I would’ve liked a giant, fluorescent shift to the left, some repudiation of previous shitty Labour policies, even the slightest glimmer of acknowledgement that the Waitakere Myth was a stupid basis for policy, but guess what, people, the fact I say “fuck” a fuck of a lot doesn’t actually mean I’m a totally unreasonable echo-chamber-constructing bitch.

What I really wanted David Shearer to do, was show he understood that in the first year of a big, public, direction-setting role like leading the parliamentary Labour Party, you need to make an impact.  You need to put your mark on the situation.  You need to show you have a reason to be there which isn’t “keep the member for Hutt South in bike pants” and a passion for the job.  Please note:  constantly using the phrase “I have a passion for this job” is just breaking the cardinal rule of show, don’t tell.

For any of the above to be the political equivalent of “walking on water” I must actually be situated on another planet, like Mars.  Where the water is frozen damn solid for a lot of the time.  What I’m saying is, it’s not hard.  Unlike the water.

And the only “dead” that Shearer was meant to bring back to life was Labour’s poll ratings.  Given the performance of the government in recent times, Labour clawing its way back to its crushing 2008 defeat levels of support is barely a flicker in Lazarus’ eye.

What’s super-ironic is that the most recent example of Shearer-pedestal-setting I’ve seen comes from … still-a-Shearer-fan Mike Smith, quoted by Colonial Viper at The Standard:

Labour’s new leader promised a fresh approach. He’s delivered already in his speech in reply today. Gone is the ritual opening denunciation of the government’s programme – Shearer begins with where a new Labour government would start.

He puts Labour firmly on the path to winning in 2014 – the intention is clearly stated and the programme for the clean, green and clever New Zealand is exactly the right one. He understands what New Zealanders expect of their MPs. It’s a very good start.

I never expected Shearer to be the messiah of the Labour Party.  Other people told us he would be, but I am nothing if not a cynic.

I just wanted a leader.

Apparently this was far too much of me to ask.


(Here’s the hilarious thing: before I saw Scott’s post I’d already drafted tomorrow’s post, an apology to David Shearer.  Because it is actually possible to seriously dislike a guy and have not a shred of faith he’ll lead Labour to victory and simultaneously not think he’s the Antichrist.)

Brian Edwards follow-up

So, I’ve ventured forth once more into the comments at Brian Edwards’ post, where much amusement may be had at Pete George wanking on about his perma-ban at The Standard.

Brian, in response to many comments along the same lines as my own, has this to say:

I said in the blog that if someone commenting on a post had reason to fear that giving their real name could lead to them, their families or associates suffering distress or harm, then it was entirely resonable for them to use an alias. I’ve now repeated that half a dozen times in reply to comments citing examples of discrimination by employers, various authorities or the state.

Fair enough, I suppose.  But this only begs one question for me:  um, what the fuck were you complaining about then, Brian?

It seems that, post posto, Brian and various commenters want to now act like “the problem” is the abusiveness, the trolling, the unconstructive shit that I know we’ve all seen derailing comment threads since the dawn of net-time.

But that’s not what Brian Edwards blogged about.

Brian Edwards said:

But, whatever my faults, I have at least always put my name to my opinions.

the commonest reason for not putting one’s name to one’s opinions is … cowardice.

But [anonymous commenting on blogs] is, in my submission, a democracy of the gutless whose commonest weapon is abuse hurled from behind the ramparts of their anonymity.

More contemptible by far than the anonymous correspondent is the anonymous blogger, particularly in a democracy like New Zealand

A few brave souls write under their real names.

If that post – and by all means go read the whole thing to establish I’m not quoting out of context, that’s the joy of links – is about anything other than “anonymous* bloggers are gutless cowards” I implore some helpful commenter – anonymous or otherwise – to explain exactly how.

So here’s the upshot:  Brian Edwards totally doesn’t think all anonymity is bad, he totally understands that some people have good reasons for remaining anonymous (or, you know, PSEUDONYMOUS).

He just thinks he gets to be the person who decides whether or not your reasons are good enough, because obviously, as an anonymous coward, you can’t be trusted to have made that decision for yourself or anything.

So, everyone, please line up by Mr Edwards’ desk to out yourself and justify your previous use of a cowardly, contemptible pseudonym.  He’ll let you know if your own reasons for your own choices are valid.  He’s a respectable old white heterosexual middle-class dude who writes under his real name, you know.


There’s another theme emerging, which Farrar helpfully parrots:  that pseudonymous bloggers are less polite, less restrained, less rational.  I merely refer that entire argument to Wh*l* O*l.



The privilege of real-name blogging

Brian Edwards is the latest to wade into the “anonymous bloggers” debate.  I’ve previously posted about the reasons people use pseudonyms, and my personal “justifications” for arguing that a pseudonym does not automatically render a person’s statements worthless.

But there’s the other side to it, the side I glossed over in that post:  the privilege of real-name blogging.

To Brian’s credit, he includes talkback radio under the heading of “anonymous commentary”, and when prompted in comments, the truly anonymous editorials of the Herald and Listener, but it’s pretty clear that it’s bloggers Brian has in mind when he talks about “cowardice”, when he states

More contemptible by far than the anonymous correspondent is the anonymous blogger, particularly in a democracy like New Zealand where freedom of speech is limited only by the laws of defamation.  Such lack of spine contrasts starkly with the courage of those anonymous bloggers and pamphleteers who are the advocates of freedom and democracy in totalitarian societies.

Brian also notes that of course, we “anonymous” bloggers (and seriously, the only thing that truly offends me about this eternal argument is people’s insistence on pretending there’s not a clear difference between anonymity and pseudonymity) will object to being labelled cowards.  So well done, Brian, you’ve got me.

You’ve also got privilege.

You’ve got the privilege of being a person in a career, in a social position, in a financial situation, which mean that stating your personal political biases for the world to see doesn’t pose you any risk.

You get to get up in the morning and sit at your computer and type whatever you darn well please into the text field.

You don’t have to worry that your manager will see it, and if not fire you, just mildly bully you on an ongoing basis at levels HR refuse to acknowledge until your work situation becomes unbearable.

You don’t have to consider that future employers might labour under the impression that a  person’s opinions about completely unrelated policy makes them unsuitable for employment.  Or that having political opinions at all rules you out of all public service, NGO, or media roles – or the entirety of customer service.

You do have the same concerns about scum like C*m*r*n Sl*t*r using your personal opinions to attack you – but again, you’re in a position and a career where you’re fairly well protected from such attacks.  You’ve got clients and contacts who are already well-aware of your political leanings.  Anyone who might have had a problem with them probably doesn’t work with you.

You don’t, therefore, have to worry about people saying “Look, I know he’s a turd in the NZ media punchbowl, but some people do take him seriously, so we can’t employ you.”

And you know, none of that is really your fault.  You shouldn’t feel bad for being in the kind of position where you can say whatever you like with no fear of damaging reprisals.

What is your fault is not realising that that is a type of privilege.

And lacking that privilege is not cowardly.

People protecting themselves by using pseudonyms, and thus giving themselves more freedom to express their opinions – and knowing that those opinions don’t come with the “established columnist” and “expert media advisor to H1” bonuses – are not “cowards”.  They’re people with a much clearer picture of how the world works for people who aren’t Brian Edwards.

And seriously, Brian.   “Anonymity Pandemic”?


PS. Just for Brian, who thinks

My position is that there often is and that anonymity permits or encourages people to be less considered, less reasonable, less restrained and more aggressive, more intolerant and more abusive than when they put their names to what they have written or said.

I haven’t even used the word “fuck” once!  …  Oops.

Bloggers and ripping off content

Felix Marwick, in comments at Public Address, raises some concerning behaviour:

I was trying to draw a distinction between what I regard as genuine blogging; opinion and news gathering involving individual research vs blatant plagiarism dressed up as opinion/news.

Forgive me if I get a little pissed off at people who help themselves to my work and that of my colleagues, slap it up on their site without so much as a “please” or a “do you mind”. Journalism costs. You want to take our work? How about asking first? How about making a contribution even?

I don’t mind quotes and links. Fair use is fine. But lifting whole articles is taking the piss.

Completely fair point.  It’s not just taking the piss, it’s plagiarism – and even where attributed, copy-pasting another author or site’s whole work basically means, if you or they are making money off onsite advertising, that you’re stealing from them.

(Obviously this doesn’t apply to consensual cross- or guest-posting, but duh.)

Here’s what I find super-interesting: Felix, as a member of the mainstream media, has talked about this issue as being about bloggers – and others in the PA comments have a few suggestions of who specifically might have that accusation levelled at them.

But you know who I immediately think of when people start talking about lifting whole articles and placing them on other sites to boost their own currency / activity / pageviews?

Bob fucking McCoskrie.

Evidence for the prosecution:  the Protect Marriage website; the Family First website.  FF’s website is particularly hilarious for the way all the posts are by the author “Bob” yet are nothing but copypasta from the mainstream media.  (Or occasionally, totally-anonymous-honest “satires” about how funny gay teenagers killing themselves is.)

Oh, sure, they’re attributed, they even have a link to the original story at the end, in case you find it so fascinating you want to re-read it in a different font.

But no one writes off Bob McCoskrie as a blogging parasite.  No, he gets TV interviews and mass media coverage of every twisted, inaccurate factoid he tries to create moral panic over.  All the while, basically stealing shit from that very media to make his sites look active and relevant.

I’ve no doubt there are blogs out there which just churn through other sites’ posts, and that’s shitty and uncreative and goddammit go away and leave the Google rankings to us original-content creators.  But at least you can snort derisively when it’s a blogger doing it.

When it’s the Moral Guiding Hand of the nation, it’s just a bit pathetic.

Fat AND slutty? I like the sound of that

I’d like to shout out to a new member of the awesome Kiwi blogosphere, Rachel of Fat And Slutty!

What my internets needed was definitely more writing like this:

“HEY! HEY YOU! Your body is changing and it’s weird and uncomfortable but remember USE CONDOMS but don’t have sex and CUM ON HER FACE but don’t acknowlege or pay attention to any of that GROSS STUFF IN YOUR PUBIC AREA and SHAVE SHAVE SHAVE. What are you doing? ARE YOU MASTURBATING?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! Sluts and bitches! See this picture? IT’S HERPES! Girls get periods and boys have MASSIVE WHITE COCKS. What’s a fat person? PENIS IN VAGINA.”

Fuck.  Yeah.

Still alive

Well, it’s nearly a month since my last post … c’est la vie.  Specifically, c’est ma vie at the moment.

But important stuff is still going on, so thank Satan and all his little wizards that we have people like Idiot/Savant in the Kiwi lefty blogosphere.  Now watch as I shamelessly siphon his thoughts.

First up, the good news: Mojo Mathers gets to do her job.  Not sure why the heck that became such a drama.  Unless ableism is a real thing and privileged white hetero cismen like Lockwood Smith have managed to get through their entire lives to date without having to even consider such basic things as “being able to hear what is being said around them so they can participate in the conversation.”

The bad news:  Len Brown appears to be a total fucking sellout, (the theory in comments at The Standard is he’s just overawed by Port management, which is .. seriously tragic) and Peter Dunne is happy to wiggle through the loopholes in his avowed policy to retain the baubles of office.  One of these surprises me more than the other, but probably shouldn’t.

Still, there’s a silver lining; we can at least hope the Government would be slightly embarrassed by a big negative response, so follow I/S’ advice and make a submission.

And if you still need to get the blood boiling, remember that people convicted over the terrible crime of The Gay before law reform still have those convictions on their records, and they don’t get the benefit of clean slate legislation.  Hurrah for our tooootally liberal society.

And this goes for you geeks, too

blue milk and tigtog have beaten me to it – so if a third recommendation is required, consider this mine for this post at Skepchick and this addendum by Kate Harding.

… it’s the consequence of a sexist culture, in which any time a woman shows her face or opens her mouth in public, whatever point she wanted to make stands to be delayed by a referendum on her fuckability.

And if I never again hear the lament, “Where are all the women in [X]?” it will be too soon.