No more Ms Nice Blogger: the War on Gay Teens
A Rolling Stone article from February has been doing the rounds – and should carry many big, clear trigger warnings for suicide, self-harm, homophobia, and hate speech (reported). This post on its contents likewise.
It’s entitled “One Town’s War on Gay Teens“, and it was a bit of an eye-opener to me.
It certainly wasn’t a revelation to me that there are truly hateful people in this world, that bullies get away with horrific abuse, that people are honestly so afraid of pointing out that there are a lot of self-proclaimed Christians in this world whom Jesus would absolutely tear strips off that they let them get away with encoding prejudice and bigotry into our society and schools and communities.
The revelation was this: I really haven’t taken my gloves off with these people, and I need to.
Despite being a shrieking swearing ranty bitchy PMS-ing monster truck of feminist blogging, I do moderate myself (you may pause to snort, if you will.) I do refrain from Jesus-would-slap-the-shit-out-of-you comments like the above. I do have this niggling little part of my brain that says there’s a line I shouldn’t cross, a line about faith and how people define their own, a line between pointing out the hypocrisy and horrific consequences without pointing too hard at the person behind them. Just as I’ve always objected to cheap shots about Gerry Brownlee’s weight or Cameron Slater’s mental health, I’ve felt that telling a person that it’s not their belief system that’s evil, it’s actually them, was … cheap. Dirty. Unbecoming. Something like that.
And then I read that Rolling Stone article. And while yes, like I’ve said, it wasn’t a surprise to me that fundy wankers have attempted to eradicate the existence of homosexuality from their communities (perhaps I should say, the communities burdened with their residence) and it wasn’t a surprise to me that this had caused some kids to take their own lives, something broke in my brain. Something clicked together. Something aligned, possibly the stars, and I realised in that moment a sad, terrible, huge, but ultimately truthy truth:
You fuckers are just, simply, fucking evil and if there is a Hell it will be too fucking good for you.
You shat on these kids.
You didn’t even tell them they, personally, were evil – you didn’t have to. You just removed any option they had of figuring out the world for themselves, because in your heads “choice” is just fine and dandy as long as the choices presented are all fundy-Christian-approved ones.
You let them get beaten up and harassed, and you threatened the adults in the best position to protect them with the loss of their job, maybe their career, if they dared to stop it.
You demonised the people who actually understand what compassion means and could have saved these kids.
In the wake of the suicides, the fundy asshats blame gay rights groups for the suicides. Because apparently telling kids that their feelings were valid “locked them” into a “lifestyle” etc etc.
Not, “telling kids their feelings were invalid and letting bullies attack them at their most vulnerable with no reprieve or protection from authority figures.” Not, “denying children even the acknowledgement of homosexuality by letting them know there was a policy outlawing acknowledgement of homosexuality.”
You trapped teenagers in a world where they could not even examine their feelings, much less acknowledge them, much less talk about them with anyone because you created a culture which made saying “I think I like people of my own gender” basically the equivalent of “I come from Mars and have acid for blood” and you fucking dare to say that homosexuality gave them no fucking options?
You actually think bullying is okay.
Michele Bachmann has a great point when she says bullying is wrong.
It’s only slightly ruined by the fact she said it to cover her ass after arguing that shutting down bullying was basically the end of free speech (ironic!) and would inevitably lead to “boys [being] girls”.
Because bullying isn’t wrong, apparently. Well, it is, it’s just that beating up a small, quiet guy for not being sufficiently manly isn’t really bullying, and constantly harassing a girl for wearing baggy sweatshirts isn’t either. They’re just basic social correction, bringing the deviants back into line so nothing threatens the established hetero social order. And those schoolyard bullies learnt it from you.
Let me tell you, people: Jesus was all about eliminating people’s differences and trampling on their individuality. Fo sho.
You are utter fucking hypocrites.
For people who think sex is a robotic process which married hetero cis couples should only ever engage in for the purposes of bring more little schoolyard thugs into the world, you are seriously fucking obsessed with sex, and “deviant” forms of it in particular.
Labelling Gay Straight Alliance clubs as “sex clubs”? I’d say “are you fucking high” but let’s remember: you’re not honest people. You’re not sincere. You’re half-driven to distraction by a lifetime of denying basic sexual urges, half-making shit up to scare the people who aren’t as evil as you but also aren’t particularly political, particularly engaged with broader social issues, who are susceptible to the bullshit you spin because you’re a Pillar of the Community.
You are, in fact, fucking evil.
You are entirely willing to destroy people’s lives if it maintains the dominance of your belief system. You will do whatever it takes to keep other people, other ideas, other ways of living in the shadows and bullying teens to the point of suicide is pretty much just hunky-fucking dory to you.
I do not believe that fundy shitstains actually think gayness is a choice. I do not believe they think it’s a genetic mutation. I think they do not care. It’s a threat to their natural order, so say and do whatever it takes to get rid of it, right?
Demonise teenagers. Pretend to be acting in their best interests when you say “oh, but they’re so confused at that age” with one Jesus-shaped sock puppet but scream “they’re evil and trying to destroy us!” with the other. Play on your fucked-up narrow-minded cultural paranoia, primed through decades of Yellow Peril and Red Peril and War on Terror, and turn it against your children because you’d actually prefer to see them dead than gay and at peace with themselves.
Fuck drawing lines in the sand with you cretins. There is blood on your hands. Your “faith” and behaviour bears absolutely zero relationship to the shit Jesus actually preached (gayness and abortion: not actually his favourite topics.)
But do you even have the faith you claim? I’m in serious doubt here. If you’d been born in any other country or time, would you just be the same hateful, demonic little fucks, waving whatever religion of convenience, whatever writings of whatever prophet, you could find to justify your self-centred bigotry?
You are fucking evil. And I’m pretty much decided right here right now that it is my life’s goal to fucking destroy you.
~A note to you other fuckers out there~
If you have read that Rolling Stone article, and you side with those people, and it offends you that I feel entirely justified in labelling those “Christians” as absolutely unmitigatedly evil people? You can go fuck yourself, because kids are dead and your buddies over there caused it.
Patrick Gower: pathetic shill or just oblivious to everything?
Stunning news tonight, my fellow Kiwis: there are heaps of jobs being advertised! Truly, the recession is over. Thank God for the solid investigative journalism which has led to this miraculous revelation!
Oh, wait, no. Some poor fucking intern in the TV3 offices spent five minutes checking Seek and Trademe Jobs and gave the local WINZ office a call …
and then they just totalled all those numbers and decided it was news.
Many Kiwis will have been looking at job ads over the past year or so, and I’m pretty sure that all of them will have looked at that shiny, jobs-for-all math and thought Jesus fucking Christ are you fucking kidding me you fucking Paula-Bennett-ass-kissing piece of shit.
Protip, Gower, and every single person at TV3 who signed off on this story: you might have been better off just standing by that rubbish, because having a lead journalist say “Of course, some of those ads may be double-ups” just took your sheer incompetence straight through the other side to I don’t even know.
I mean, that’s your idea of “investigating” the numbers of jobs available? That’s the kind of pap you’re going to serve up to a Cabinet Minister for comment? That’s the level of analysis you’re going to present to the public?
Fuck me, Gower. I really hope that whatever financial or political reacharound you’re getting out of this is worth the souls of your entire bloodline unto the sixth generation.
For anyone needing clarification: “some of these may be double-ups” is a slightly massive understatement and as an intermittent job-seeker I’d happily state that 7,000 of those 27,000 “ads” are redundant – either due to replication or being “send us your CV so our books look better!” recruitment company rubbish. Which doesn’t even start on the issue of whether these are *good* jobs which unemployed people might want to risk a stand-down period for.
And while I’m ranting and pissed off, half an hour for 3News to get onto a fucking Parliamentary resignation and by-election? ARE YOU SHITTING ME?
Abortion reform: It’s about goddamn time
First brought to my attention by No Right Turn and also covered at The Hand Mirror (both excellent posts, so go read them!) Steve Chadwick, Labour list MP and midwife, is proposing changes to our current abortion law.
ALRANZ has a good sum-up of why our abortion laws need to change. In short: if you’re a Kiwi woman, and you get pregnant, you don’t just get to say, “I don’t want to be pregnant any more”. Nope, you get to make your case to two “certifying consultants” who get to decide if you deserve to undergo a legal medical procedure, according to a list of criteria which doesn’t even include rape as a ground for approval.
Oh, it can be taken into consideration. Thank you so much, legislators of 1977, it means such a lot to women that the repercussions* of sexual assault are something that you need to convince two consultants to “take into consideration”.
NRT provides some very good context around why now is really a good time to be talking about this; THM encourages people to write to their elected representatives – and I do too, because you know who’s going to be writing en masse? The fundies.
But it’s a Sunday night and I’m really just up for some snark. Fortunately, the Herald obliges, as always.
A Labour MP has taken the controversial step of proposing a new law to legalise abortion on request for women up to 24 weeks into a pregnancy.
It’s a controversial step, of course, especially since:
The Abortion Supervisory Committee has repeatedly urged Parliament to review the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act, which states the legal grounds for abortion, but MPs avoid the issue.
I see! It’s not controversial because the notion of treating women like they’re real people capable of making their own choices about their own body is terrifying to the Garth Georges of the world. It’s controversial because jeez, Steve, everyone else has done a perfectly fine job of prioritising “not rocking the boat” ahead of “sticking to their principles”, why do you have to go and ruin it?
As long as we can just keep pretending that only filthy sluts (who are apparently too dumb to realise that they can just keep the sprog and rake in The Fat Cash from The Beleaguered Taxpayer, right, trolls?) ever get abortions, not Good Girls, and anyway the law is working fine (okay, its wiggle room around “mental health” is being utilised as was completely predictable) … I mean, why do ya have to go and make us all actually acknowledge the reality of abortion, and think about women’s rights, and engage with actual issues that affect people’s lives? Can’t we just go back to stories about cute animals and Len Brown’s credit card bill, and not have to admit that really we just don’t give a shit about women’s health and rights?**
Before 24 weeks’ gestation, registered health practitioners could carry out an abortion at the patient’s request. It would be regulated like any other medical procedure.
Oh shit! Like any other medical procedure? But abortion isn’t a mere medical procedure! It’s a medical procedure that only nasty people who I don’t like to think about get!** It’s certainly not like an appendectomy, we don’t get to feel smug and superior about people who get appendectomies! And we can’t stick the appendix on billboards to shame people into doing what we want them to!
Abortion: it’s like any other medical procedure. Only for whores.
Sidenote: the current ad running on that article in the Herald is for an online bank tool. It’s motto is “take control now”. Just not of your fertility, hoydens!
The anti-abortion movement was swift to condemn the bill.
NO WAI. Quick, Herald, which antichoicer with an hilariously white-male name did you instantly ring for an inflammatory quote?
“If it came onto the floor of the House, we would fight it tooth and nail,” said Voice for Life Auckland president Bernard Moran.
… Well played, Herald. Well played. I wonder if Voice for Life actually has a membership, unlike Bob “Family First” McCoskrie.
But will Bernard live up to the standards expected of a true wingnut?
“The present law is a compromise to recognise that there is an unborn child, that there is a human person involved in this procedure.”
BERNARD DOES NOT DISAPPOINT. But you know, I have to agree with him. We DO need to remember that there is a human person involved in this procedure: SHE’S A WOMAN, AND SHE’S PREGNANT, AND SHE HAS A MOTHERFUCKING RIGHT TO DECIDE IF THAT STATE OF AFFAIRS CONTINUES.
Ahem. You know, it always fascinates me how the people who talk about the right to life, this incredibly important, vital concept, which is inalienable and universal and paramount to humanity … are quite happy to use words like compromise. Right to life! Every zygote is sacred! Except for rape zygotes, and incest zygotes, and definitely disabled zygotes. God doesn’t care about them.
Mrs Chadwick, citing United Nations data, said abortion was permitted on request in 67 per cent of developed countries. New Zealand attitudes had become more liberal than those reflected by current legislation.
You think? Shit, between then and now we even managed to come round to the idea that men shouldn’t rape their wives.
Delicious eye-rolling icing on the cake:
Prime Minister John Key did not answer Weekend Herald questions about the bill yesterday. Labour leader Phil Goff said he hadn’t given the matter much thought.
Two middle-aged white men don’t engage with the issue? Quelle bloody surprise.
I wish Steve Chadwick all the luck in the world on this one – she’s going to need it. Time to get my letter-writing on!
*I am sure it will escape no antichoicer’s notice that I use wonderfully clinical terms to describe the precious unborn potential Beethoven wunderkind iddle baybee. That’s because it actually just doesn’t matter, because unless you’re going to step up right now and offer me a 9 month lease on your kidneys? You’re a piece of shit misogynist.
**Antichoicers: this is a trap.
***It’s fascinating, as I write this, just HOW MUCH these arguments parallel the prostitution law reform “debate”.
[Insert “ironic” use of offensive term to illustrate edgy-ness]
A tad behind the times on this, but there’s been so much idiocy going about these days one has had trouble keeping up – not to mention that The Christmas is fast approaching.
First things first: Long story short, Paul Henry added to his incredibly long list of infractions against basic tact/class/decency/empathy by referring to Susan Boyle as “retarded”.
Second thing second: The bloggers at The Hand Mirror have a post up with some ideas about how to actually do something more than ignore Paul Henry in the vain hope he’ll go away.
Third thing third: I could go on (and on and on and on) about Paul Henry, but that gets a little dull after a while, and why bother when there’s a much higher calibre of stupidity on the menu?
I speak of an instalment of Moata’s Blog Idle on *shudder* Stuff.
Specifically, a post entitled (because she’s so clever!) Let’s get retarded.
I’m sure we’re all breathless with antici…pation to see where she’s going to go with this one, right?
Well, she’s straight into it with an innovative twist on the old “I’m not racist but …”:
Let me just start by stating quite clearly that I am no great fan, or any sized fan, of Paul Henry.
It’s not just that you can see the apologism bearing down on you from miles away, it’s that there’s also something of an attempt to invoke QoT’s Law Of Strange Bedfellows: why, if adorable “thirtysomething”* quirky girl-blogger Moata is actually going to agree with crotchety wankstain Paul Henry, surely there must be something in it, right?
And after some meandering through the classic Stuff blogger’s “what I ate for breakfast today” opening paragraphs we’re into the meat of it, the delicious steak of oblivious privilege upon which all future paragraphs will be but an array of experience-enhancing sauces:
But let’s have a little discussion about the use of the word “retard”, shall we, since it seems to be very much a topic of conversation at the moment? In the past I’ve been taken to task for my use of this word, and I’ve accepted that it’s not to everyone’s liking but I am relatively unapologetic about it. I’m very much a fan of words and I’m not going to facetiously claim that a word is just a word and it can’t hurt you. Certainly words do have power, but sometimes only as much power as you are willing to give them.
Talking to readers like they’re schoolchildren and having to type out this post is a chore? Check.
Martyr complex because ZOMG someone has previously expressed displeasure at your use of offensive words? Check.
Brash declaration of refusal to give in to The Soldiers of Political Correctness, buttressed with sanctimonious I LOVE LANGUAGE bullshit? Check.
Statement about not downplaying something’s offensiveness immediately succeeded by downplaying its offensiveness? Check.
Smug implication that it’s actually your fault for feeling offended, you hypersensitive snowflake? Check.
With AMAZING BONUS “oh but I said sometimes I didn’t mean you” weasel-clause? Ladies, gentlemen, small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri, we have a winner!
This is a princely piece of work, this. The word “retarded”, you see, is simply not to everyone’s liking. It’s a matter of personal taste, an aesthetic choice, much like those stimulating “whence” vs. “from whence” debates one might have over a cup of wanker tea. Nothing serious.
Nothing, for example, like a word with strong negative connotations used as a blanket term for both all mental illness and a lack of intellect, forethought, reason, or rational capabilities.
Nothing that could possibly give any kind of message, like “mentally ill people are all stupid”, certainly nothing that could be used to dehumanize an entire group of people, nothing that could be a part of common usage as a putdown because we view people with mental illness as being lesser beings, because we [being of course the neurotypical majority who get to decide these things] consider it a bad, awful, horrible thing to be thought of as a retard.
If you’re having a hard time drawing the comparison, consider “throwing like a girl”, which I’ll come back to in a moment – because first, Moata has to let us know just how unwilling she is to acknowledge reality.
My take on the use of the word “retarded” is that it falls into two distinct categories. You can use it derogatively or jocularly to refer to someone or something that is judged to be stupid or behave stupidly. For instance, “trying to flirt with a woman by telling her you’re going to kidnap her (I overheard a guy yell this at an attractive female as she walked past a couple of weeks ago) is retarded”. This is probably the way that the word is used by most people, most of the time (though not on television).
The second use of the term is to refer to someone who has some kind of deficiency of intellect that can accurately be described as a kind of mental retardation. As best as I can tell this is the origin of the word “retard” which has since acquired a broader usage by being applied to things (or people) who are not, in fact, mentally deficient.
Like an episode of The Simpsons, we’re working on multiple levels here. So, the first “distinct category” – retarded = stupid (oh but remember, it can be used jocularly!).
The second, retarded = mentally deficient.
First, the junior circuit stupid. Moata apparently wants us to believe that when people call someone retarded, we just mean “stupid”. Nothing more. It’s just a synonym, with no implications or assumptions. No one, hearing a person say “That guy is retarded” (jocularly!), could possibly understand it to mean “that person is mentally deficient the way a generic person with mental illness (but let’s face it, probably someone with visible illness/condition/disability, and let’s face it further, almost certainly down’s syndrome) is mentally deficient”.
No no no, they hear “that guy is retarded” and it magically has no associations with the second “distinct category” at all. Fuck me, I think Moata’s a psychic and hasn’t figured out the rest of us aren’t.
Senior stupid: if we look very closely in the thick undergrowth of the bloggy rainforest, we may be able to make out some fan-fucking-tastic normative language.
some kind of deficiency of intellect
It’s beautiful, isn’t it? The way Moata, and a lot of her readers, and certainly all the other people who hit on this particular defence of the word, make nice big bold statements about how there’s obviously a normal level of intellect, and some people just don’t have it, and so they’re deficient. Not like us normal people who have normal intellects.
And it’s obviously totes cool to refer to these deficient people as retards, because they’re backwards. You know, like referring to indigenous peoples as primitive or barbaric because they haven’t discovered the joys of urban disease and nuclear warfare. I mean, it’s a thoroughly objective thing to do, because we’re normal. Right? I mean, we must be, because everyone knows that not being normal would be a terrible thing.
But don’t let me get carried away. Moata continues to impress by finding new and astounding ways to make my jaw drop:
So the irony with regards to the current Paul Henry debacle (there’ll be another one next week) is that he’s got himself into trouble for using the word, not in the derogatory way that it is often used by people like me, but by actually applying it to someone who apparently is a little retarded.
Now, the fact that “Paul smooth-as-a-gravy-sandwich Henry” took a gleeful delight in reading about Susan Boyle’s misfortune in life is an entirely different issue. He could have used any word to describe her mental condition; what’s really upsetting is the silly, schoolboy laughter that accompanied it.
I mean, shit on a brick. The irony is that Paul Henry was actually calling a person retarded who IS retarded! Isn’t life funny that way? I mean, obviously he went too far with the laughing, the implication in his laughter that being retarded is a bad thing. Because we all know that it can just be an accurate term for someone who’s mentally deficient. Right?
And Susan Boyle obviously is retarded, I mean, Moata’s a physician psychic so she knows, it’s not like she, just like Paul Henry, is making assumptions about people based on their appearances or lives or attitudes or anything.
It’s certainly not like she, like Paul Henry, like many other people, feel quite comfortable saying “this woman looks a bit dim and is single and old and sings songs from Les Mis so she must have been brain damaged because no normal person could be dim/single/old/a Les Mis fan”. It’s not like the continuing casual use of the word retard in any way supports these assumptions. That would be wrong.
It’s par for the course that, naturally, Moata doesn’t really take these ideas any further. That would involve her having ideas. Instead, it’s back to the Stuff blogger’s grab-bag of tricks and making it all about her:
Personally, I’m going to continue to call myself or my nearest and dearest “retarded” when I or they do something stupid. I’m going to continue to prefer the original version of the Black Eyed Peas song otherwise sanitised-for-our-safety as “Let’s get it started”. I’m going to continue to think Paul Henry’s a dick, because he kind of is one. What I’m not going to do is taunt someone with an intellectual handicap with the word “retard” or laugh at their misfortune because the thing that I am most grateful for in life is my good mind.
LOOK OUT, WORLD! We’re dealing with a FREE SPIRIT here who will NOT BE DENIED her right to be a fucking insensitive douchebag of the highest order.
Christ, Moata. Just tattoo “I don’t know anybody with visible disability and I lack the capacity for basic empathy unless something personally affects me” on your forehead while you’re at it. They can take your original-edit Black Eyed Peas from your cold, dead hands, right? Because the word “retarded” is just so essential to the subtext of that song, it loses its meaning without it.
And oh good Lords and Ladies, that last sentence. Let’s see it again for the audience at home:
What I’m not going to do is taunt someone with an intellectual handicap with the word “retard” or laugh at their misfortune because the thing that I am most grateful for in life is my good mind.
So apparently, even though “retarded” is a totally appropriate word to use (jocularly!) to describe people who are “mentally deficient”, Moata … has reservations about using it to a person’s mentally-deficient face. I guess that’s back to not to everyone’s liking, or maybe it’s just taunting people with it. Context, tone, these things are all so important when you’re not just taking half a fucking neuron to not be an offensive wanker.
And remember, kiddies, Moata’s most important message: even though there are no bad connotations to a neurotypical person being called a “retard”, because it’s fucking jocular, we should still be mindful of the MISFORTUNES of people with intellectual disabilities. THOSE POOR FUCKING SOULS, DON’T WE JUST WEEP FOR THEM, THEY’RE LIKE PINOCCHIO ONLY RETARDS INSTEAD OF PUPPETS. Fucking misfortune, Moata? You’re going to play the “words only have the power you give them” AND the “it’s technically accurate” cards and then you are going to fucking pity people who have mental disabilities or illness.
Good thing you’ve got a “good mind”, Moata. That should make up for your complete lack of basic fucking soul.
*Personal gripe: OWN YOUR FUCKING AGE, WOMAN.
Who needs identity politics?
Alas, dear friends, it is late in the night and I’m buggered if I can recall what trail of sorry links lead me to the posts upon which I am to unleash my wrath.
It’s yet another spin-off of the cultural clusterfuck that is Nationhood Speech Der Zweite; specifically, the response by Chris Trotter entitled “The Liberal Left: Who Needs You?” Our special surprise guest is a commenter going by the name of John Pagani, apparently an adviser to The Speechmaker Himself, assuming anyone is honest about their identities on the interwebz these days (she says, writing under a pseudonym).
First things first, there’s the casual dismissal of all and sundry who thought that maybe explicitly modelling a speech after the Don Brash/Orewa mold might not be entirely kosher:
Their reflexive condemnation of anyone who dares to hold Maori politicians to the same standards as Pakeha betrays an arrogant unwillingness to accept the ethical norms of their own society. These people have become the fervent champions of an indigenous culture they can never truly join because, fundamentally, they despise their own.
On the “same standard” bollocks, see my previous post. Idiot/Savant notes well in the comments,
Be honest, Chris. The word you’re looking for is “self-hating Pakeha”. Or maybe “race-traitor”.
Disclaimer: I am so white it’s ridiculous. I don’t say I’m “proud to be white” because HOLY CRAP with the instant supremacist associations. Also, you know, taking pride in the identity of an ethnicity which has categorically dumped on basically every other ethnicity over the past several centuries? Not so much my thing.
But I am white. My cultural points of reference are white and Western and English-speaking. And there’s a big fucking difference between acknowledging that white people have seriously fucked up on the race relations/not committing genocide front and “despising [my] own [culture].”
But I guess it makes it much easier to ignore people’s objections when you can say “oh they just suffer from too much liberal white guilt” – and when you’re happy to forget the fact that we have quite a bit to be guilty about. Throwing in that whole “too arrogant to accept basic ethics” line is a nice touch, too.
Fuck that, though, I’ve covered it already – point is, Chris Trotter is my least favourite kind of leftie: the one who thinks being a leftie makes him automatically open-minded and understanding of privilege and power dynamics and oppression, but clings happily to the notion that every single bad thing in the world comes down to nothing more than class.
Side note: Trotter responds to I/S’ comment with:
If the cap fits,Comrade …
GET IT, GUYS, HE’S A TOTAL LEFTIE BECAUSE HE CALLS PEOPLE COMRADE, WHY DON’T YOU WORSHIP AT THE FEET OF HIS MARXIST CREDENTIALS.
Anyway, point is: identity politics. Ah, yes, those trifling matters that get in the way of real class struggle. Can’t think why “objects to “identity politics”” is a phrase instantly associated in my mind with white heterosexual males who happen to have a few leftwing ideas, but oh well …
Along with hassling the ZOMG LIBERAL LEFT for having no power or influence “beyond the blogosphere” (whereas Chris totes has influence ’cause they wheel him out to sing The Red Flag on election nights for a laugh) there’s a few nice jabs at we Liberal Lefties:
Those faint-hearted liberals who can’t stand the heat should get out of the kitchen.
They have no understanding of, nor empathy for, the hopes and fears of ordinary people.
The truth of the matter is, liberal leftists have been preaching to themselves for so long they no longer appreciate how few people give a tinker’s cuss what they say.
And then there’s allegedly-John-Pagani in the comments:
It’s about connecting with things that matter to people and making politics work for people, instead of instructing people in what’s good for them and inventing fabrications about the people the left represents.
And that’s frankly where I get right fucking pissed off.
Because apparently, the Liberal Left just don’t understand ordinary people. We don’t care about things that matter to people, we just want to instruct them because we’re bossy britches. Fuck, I’m stunned no one managed to insert a nanny/evil headmistress/other authoritarian-woman-figure-who-kills-our-fun-but-is-not-a-Helen-Clark-reference-AT-ALL into the discourse.
Why is the second “people” in both italics and bold up there? Because when two guys get in a huddle and start slanging against the Liberal Left and the evil distraction of identity politics, and whinge about how we need to think about ordinary people, I think we can make a few very good guesses as to the kind of people they’re talking about.
And I’ll give you a hint: it ain’t you or me, assuming you are not a middle class white heterosexual cisgendered currently able bodied male.
Because here’s what matters to me:
It matters to me that I not be passed over for a job or a promotion because I’m a woman who’ll obviously just leave to have babies.
It matters to me that I have the right to be paid the same as a man for doing the same work.
It matters to me that gay men and women can have their relationships recognised by the state just like every two-in-three-chance-of-divorce hetero couple.
It matters to me that people of colour not get pulled over by the cops because brown people shouldn’t be driving expensive cars, or are obviously on drugs because they’re brown, or not be played by white people in movies about their lives.
It matters to me that people with disabilities can travel on aeroplanes, and get into buildings, and pass exams at school (look out for that incredibly-expletive-filled-post tomorrow!) and go shopping without worrying some bastard’s going to throw them out for having a hearing dog.
It matters to me that trans people shouldn’t have to worry about being murdered because someone else feels they have the right to judge what defines a man or a woman.
It matters to me that people should be able to practise their faith without fear of persecution, and that people not-of-faith should be able to say so without harassment.
But fuck all that! That’s just identity politics! That’s just me assuming that the way people identify, the way society wants to identify them, the assumptions others feel free to make about you because of your identity or assumed identity, might actually affect people! It might actually rate a bit higher on their List Of Things That Pissed Me Off Today:
- Harassed on bus by guy who wouldn’t leave me alone.
- First question asked at job interview: “Do you have kids?”
- Threatened with sexual violence by blog commenter.
- Still alienated from means of production.
Come on, guys, the big important thing is obviously class struggle! We can’t possibly let the things that affect women and people of colour and people with disabilities and trans people and people who ignore the gender binary and people whose identities are not the default white het cis male – who, in fact, by being not-white-het-cis-males, actually have the audacity to have identities – get in the way of the greater good!
And if we have to throw Maori under the bus to achieve our [white het cis male] worker’s utopia, then so be it.
To borrow a line from the bikers’ rally at Parliament, I can only ask, though: who’s next?
Other reading: No Right Turn, Lew at Kiwipolitico.
An “unbalanced response”
You know it’s a bad fucking day when I have to agree, in part, with fucking WhaleOil.
Point the Zero: I’m actually not going to rehash his situation here, because then I’d feel hypocritical for slagging off Eddie at The Standard for Point One.*
That being said, Point the First: It’s a bit fucking rich playing the “we kept quiet about this because we are Such Noble Creatures” card as a prelude to:
but seeing as the Sunday Star-Times felt differently, a few comments.
It’s a lovely tactic of some of our Parliamentarians to try a variation on this spin, the “well I might call the member a liar, if it weren’t against Standing Orders” line. It’s childish bullshit and, in Eddie’s case, serves as a handy warning that things are going to go rapidly downhill.
Protip: if it weren’t okay to comment on it before, it ain’t okay now that one of the trashiest newsrags in NZ has decided it’s a good time to rake through their Most Unflattering Photos file.
Fat hate ain’t just American
Via Fatshionista, a highly-recommended article on America’s Fat Hatred. Here’s the bit, also quoted at Fatshionista, which leaped out at me:
In a study published in the 2005 issue of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law,Abigail Saguy and Brian Riley found that many overweight people decide not to get help for medical conditions that are more treatable and more risky than obesity because they don’t want to deal with their doctor’s harassment about their weight. (For instance, a study from the University of North Carolina found that obese women are less likely to receive cervical exams than their thinner counterparts, in part because they worry about being embarrassed or belittled by the doctor because of their weight.)
And of course, when those women drop dead of preventable cancer, it all gets ascribed to “ZOMG obesity epidemic fatties are UNHEALTHY why didn’t they put down the baby-flavoured donuts” and the cycle keeps going, dumbasses.
The reason this jumped out at me is that it’s only been in the last year (i.e. two six-monthly appointments) that I’ve started to just not like going to the doctor.
It was great when I was at uni. The doctors were generally so head-over-heels with getting to deal with a patient who didn’t smoke, used two forms of contraception and knew exactly when her last smear had been that the dreaded BMI calculation often didn’t even make an appearance.
These last two? Yeeeeeeeeeeeeah, different story.
… and I am the Cheshire Cat
To quote Anita at Kiwipolitico, If Bronagh Key is a solo mum then I’m an Iraqi refugee.
But no, apparently having a mansion so big the Diplomatic Protection Squad have difficulty covering it is totes balanced out by the long hours That Nice Mr Key puts in down in Wellington.
Like Anita, I don’t doubt that there are a lot of pressures put on a family by having one parent serving as Prime Minister. But … a “solo mother”? Seriously? That’s the line we’re running with? From a man who once attacked the Domestic Purposes Benefit because “some” solo parents* had been
for want of a better term, breeding for a business
And HE’S going to fucking pull the “lolz iz so hard for my wife coz I is away so much she iz totes solo mum lol” line?
GO EAT A BIG BOWL OF DICK, MR KEY.
*Because of course he was only talking about a minority and not in any way just leaving a loophole when criticised for characterizing all beneficiaries as bludgers. Oh no no no, he just meant SOME! Honest! That’s why the right wing spends so much time also talking about the other, non-bludging, non-headline-grabbing kinds of beneficiaries.
I’m an equal-opportunity victim-blamer-hater
First things first, though, the XIIIth Down Under Feminists’ Carnival is up at SAHM Feminist. Awesome work, Azlemed!
Now, I must admit, I was probably asking for it when I agreed with Cactus Kate on something. But I could hardly have expected the Universe to respond with the best most mindboggling piece of victim-blaming I’ve seen in a while.
Karen Kissane can has transphobia, no can has journalistic integrity
Not sure if this has been covered elsewhere, as I just have time to post before din-dins.
Let’s start with a headline, courtesy of The Age via stuff.co.nz, which basically screams “let’s get some gratuitous offensiveness on”:
It can’t get worse? The hell you say!
An Australian court has allowed a 17-year-old girl to have her breasts removed so she can be more like a boy.
Or as we say in HaveAFuckingBrainistan, “An Australian court has allowed a young transgender man to have surgery so his external appearance can reflect his internal reality.”
… Admittedly, that requires both having a brain and believing in this crazy notion that transgendered people exist.
It’s your usual “denial of transgendered person’s identity, constant and deliberate use of blatantly incorrect pronoun in the face of clear stated preference” tail, only this one has two little twists, one almost funny and the other fucking sick:
First, there’s the fact that Justice Diana Bryant, who made the decision to allow 17-year-old Alex to have the surgery, always uses the correct, male, pronoun … which, given the introduction has already identified Alex as a girl, leads to this:
Justice Bryant told The Age: “In the end, it wasn’t a particularly difficult issue because the only real issue was, ‘Would he (Alex) have it at 17 or once he’s 18?’ Then, he doesn’t need permission…
The “journalist” feels the need to explain that the he Justice Bryant refers to is the same Alex referred to in the headline as a girl.
I mean, most people might have taken the hint when the Chief Justice of the Family Court is using a particular set of words to describe a person.
But not Karen Kissane, senior writer at The Age. Nope, she goes straight for the fucking sick twist:
But ethicist Nick Tonti-Filippini said mainstream medicine did not recognise hormone treatments and surgery as treatment for gender dysphoria. He said it was a psychiatric disorder qualifying under American guidelines as a psychosis because “it’s a belief out of accordance with reality“.
Well, he’s an ethicist, he would know, right?
And if there were anything about this ethicist that might possibly put his comments in context, Karen Kissane would have mentioned it, right?
Like how they stick little “XYZ ABC is a commentator for the Suchandsuch Thinktank and has previously written on the effect of lint on suit jackets” disclaimers at the end of opinion pieces.
I mean, if you’re just going to call someone an ethicist and then report their words with no criticism or questioning, they’ve got to be, well, credible, right?
You wouldn’t, for example, expect them to be Associate Professors at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family, right? It’s not like that screams I have a certain and telling doctrine underwriting my statements on gender and identity or anything. It’s not like that might affect how people read this article, and interpret this ethicist’s statements, and how they reflect on the life and identity of a 17-year-old boy.
Karen Kissane, I might have raised an eyebrow over your illiterate inability to get the pronouns right. I might have just screamed FUCK at my computer screen a few times over that pathetic excuse for a headline.
But when you describe Alex’s identity as “longing to be the opposite sex”, when you quote someone like Nick Toni-Filippini and feel apparently no need to point out that his comments are hardly objective, when you discard the serious efforts Justice Bryant has gone to to reach the best decision for Alex because you want to treat a young transman as a circus freak to get you headlines?
There is a special circle of Hell waiting for you, Karen.
Letters to The Age: email@example.com
ETA: More at Hoyden About Town and The Hand Mirror.