If you go to Bob Jones’ latest article on The Herald, it might look a little different than it did this morning.
That’s because they’ve removed the section where he patted himself on the back for telling someone to commit suicide – who did.
The Herald’s response has been incredibly limp:
Editor’s note: This column has been amended following further consideration of Bob Jones’ comments. We apologise that the original column caused offence to some readers.
Further consideration, you note. So they’d already considered the column, and it took a lot of people on Twitter saying “Are you actually fucking kidding me?” for them to think that hey, maybe that wasn’t such a good idea.
And of course it’s the offence caused which is the problem. Not the fact that telling someone to commit suicide, and congratulating yourself when they do, is really fucking evil. We already have plenty of history to establish that the Herald’s editors don’t give a fuck about publishing Bob Jones’ thoughts on rape victims deserving it and burning women’s houses down because he doesn’t like their driving.
But here’s the thing: it’s also illegal.
Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years who—
(a)incites, counsels, or procures any person to commit suicide, if that person commits or attempts to commit suicide in consequence thereof; or
(b)aids or abets any person in the commission of suicide.
Bob Jones would appear to be ever so slightly in breach of the law – as well as a terrible person who will, if there is any god, spend eternity trapped in a hybrid car behind a woman driver.
For this little episode, he and the editors of the Herald are deemed Officially Scum.
Bob Jones has produced another disgusting “opinion piece”, and the New Zealand Herald has once again been disgusting enough to publish it.
I completely understand that a lot of people don’t have the spoons for taking on yet another awful triggery misogynist piece of shit produced by an awful misogynist piece of shit. On this occasion, I do. Hence this post.
The URL of the article is: http:// http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11143714
A precis of the article for those who do not wish to feed the Herald’s amoral clickbait campaign:
- This one time, Bob Jones was in Viet Nam, and he noticed that women can’t drive
- Then he badgered Hutt City Council to not install traffic lights all over the place
- Now there are roundabouts and women can’t use them and even women he knows agree with him
- Anyway, he once bought a totally awesome penis substitute car and he drove totally awesomely but bitches complained ’cause they ain’t shit
- So he laughed at the Police letter he received and told them (CONTENT NOTE: and here’s where I quote the awful violent bit)
I replied, first pointing out that passing is not illegal and adding that while normally I don’t condone police violence, this was an exception and they would be doing God’s work by going to the complainants’ homes, beating the crap out of them and burning their houses down.
- Then he interpreted the automatic form letter he received in response as agreement.
- Finally, he makes a hilarious joke about how Saudi Arabia shouldn’t let women drive because lol, bitches can’t drive.
Dovil has also provided a write-up, fed through a What Bob’s Really Thinking translator. Di W has challenged Bob to a parallel park-off. Rachel Rayner has a nice little template for you to complain to the editor – before you complain to the Press Council.
And I’ve been tweeting companies whose ads appear on the article. These include:
- ASB Bank – no response
- Jetstar – no response
- iHeartRadio – who, to their credit, acknowledged the tweet, but stated they can’t control where their ads end up. I say: demand a better contract.
- Accor Hotels – no response
- Nissan – no response – but so ironic
- RealMe – the new government login service. I can’t tell if this account is genuine so tweeted NZ Post instead.
Companies which don’t have Twitter accounts I can easily locate are:
- Sovereign Insurance
- State Insurance
… which is a pity, because I’d love to know if either of them would cover my house in the circumstances of the Police burning it down to punish me for driving too cautiously to suit Sir Bob.
The problem, once again, is less Bob Jones being a hateful piece of shit, and more that The Herald will obviously continue to publish schlock to match their page size as long as it generates pageviews and sells advertising.
I don’t expect this story to be the final nail in the coffin. I don’t expect to change the world overnight. But I know that pressuring advertisers can get results (admittedly, with a well-run social media campaign and a few tens-of-thousands of activists). So I’m going to do what I can.
The hashtag is #boycottbobjones, and more advertisers are being tweeted:
[Trigger warning for rape and rape apologism]
I wanted to write some satire, but I just don’t have the spoons. I don’t have the sheer mental energy to snark Bob fucking Jones, someone who is only considered relevant because of modern capitalism’s irrational belief that having money means your opinion is worth listening to.
I just can’t deal with a major newspaper printing an article which so perfectly encapsulated rape culture that, were it written by anyone else, would have been assumed to be taking the piss.
Bob Jones has hurt people with this column. Bob Jones has re-victimised people who have survived rape. Bob Jones has basically taken a giant shit on everyone who has been attacked, no matter where or when or how it happened.
Bob Jones has, in a few hundred words, probably obstructed the course of justice, because there’s got to be at least one survivor out there who saw it and was convinced they could never tell anyone because they’d just be told it was their fault.
And the New Zealand Herald has enabled this. It has happily published an attack on all rape victims, and all women, in order to generate pageviews.
Even when the circumstances of someone’s rape are absolutely “legitimate” – it was a stranger, it was during the day, you were wearing a refrigerator box with eyeholes cut into the front – survivors know that whoever they tell, the odds are very, very good that the response won’t be “that’s so fucking terrible, how can I help?”, it will be “But why did you … why didn’t you … what were you …?”
Bob Jones wants you to believe that he’s just being the voice of reason, the rational one, the dude who just tells it like it is. But Bob Jones is actually the voice that tells rape survivors – even survivors of the perfect, legitimate rape – to sit down and shut up and never tell anyone because you won’t be believed and you must have done something to cause it.
And he does it, and the Herald publishes it, for pageviews.
Do you think it’s more evil if he really believes what he’s saying, or not?
Highly-recommended reading on Bob “strangely desperate to deny that certain things count as rape” Jones’ antics:
Tallulah Spankhead at The Lady Garden
Nat Dudley (Dropbox link)
Thomas Lumley at StatsChat
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?
Less than half the compensation awarded to New Zealand prisoners who have been mistreated has actually been paid to them – or to their victims.
The scheme, which came into effect in 2005, was set up to ensure that prisoners who have been mistreated do not receive compensation until any outstanding debt they owe to their victims has been paid.
One prisoner, Steven Brent Gunbie, was awarded $43,313 for [something]. However, the payment has been held in trust since 2007, and Gunbie will only receive the money after claims from victims of his crimes are settled.
However, only six victim claims have been successful since the scheme started in November 2005. The six victims have received payments totalling $49,000, and another $63,000 is being held in 19 cases for court-ordered reparation.
The delays are caused by [something].
The scheme was originally set up after prisoners at Auckland Prison at Paremoremo were forced under a programme called the “behaviour management regime” to live in isolated squalor and were treated inhumanely.
The prisoners were awarded a large sum in compensation. This led to public outcry over the rights of victims of crime. The Labour government introduced the current law on a trial basis to ensure money would not go directly to prisoners if their victims were owed anything.
The Government has now made the scheme permanent, even though its own advisers say it does not help victims of crime.
Prisoners have received $220,000 from a total pool of $516,000. Another $290,000 is being held in trust pending 12 claims from victims.
After the initial payments, almost all compensation payments are being made to prisoners who have been kept in prison beyond their release dates.
Correction Minister Anne Tolley said work was in progress to move to an electronic system to reduce the number of these errors, but also said prisoners should not receive taxpayer money, despite being illegally detained after their sentences finished.
Garth McVicar of the Sensible Sentencing Trust criticised the scheme for forcing victims of crime to re-engage with offenders if they wanted compensation. He said the Justice Minister at the time, Phil Goff, “was trying to pacify and tried to have a foot in both camps.”
Current Labour Party justice spokesperson Andrew Little said the law did not work and failed to meet victims’ needs. It also had the perverse effect of victims benefiting only when the state abused prisoners.
[insert list of unsettled claims here if necessary]
This is the article which David Fisher wanted to run in the NZ Herald – an article about obstacles in the path of giving just compensation to prisoners mistreated by bungling corrections staff.
It’s just a pity the version which got published was headlined “Prisoners paid $500,000” – which isn’t true – describes Steven Brent Gunbie as “violent gun-wielding kidnapper Steven Brent Gunbie” and began,
A child sex offender was paid $26,600 in compensation by the taxpayer under a scheme which has awarded more than $500,000 to prisoners since it came into effect in 2005.
which puts a rather different spin on the matter, don’t you think? Or am I just unintelligent and poorly informed?
But let’s be serious – David Fisher could’ve written the above – or even something better. The NZ Herald? Ain’t got no time for giving a shit about abuses of prisoners’ rights. Not when there’s pageviews in them thar hills.
Another week, another unthreatening-yet-just-threatening-enough-to-stir-up-plenty-of-pageviews column about “ladies’ issues” (sexism doesn’t count if it’s ironic) from Rebecca Kamm in the Herald.
This week, that most troubling of questions, the issue which all other feminist work should be put aside so we can properly focus on it: can men be feminists?
The comments … I can’t even, but Megapope on Twitter provided all the commentary necessary on that front.
Thing is, it’s just another Rebecca Kamm column. Very little original content, lots of hip links to other sites (which, you know, I should probably be thankful for, given how the Armstrong types still like to pretend that they’re working only in print) …
And then she goes and quotes the founder of the “Good Men Project”.
Tom Matlack, founder of the The Good Men project, is also unconvinced [that men can be feminists]. But not because men don’t “get it”, or because – like Celie’s Revenge – he suspects falsity. He strays from the term because he’s experienced firsthand the furore it sparks:
“I am a feminist of the kind my mum was, and is,” he tells me via email: “She raised me in the 1970s with the idea that the Equal Rights Amendment to our constitution was just a crucial as the Civil Rights Act.”
Yet, “modern cyber feminists”, as Matlack puts it, “tell me, through heated and personal attacks, that I have no right to discuss gender because I don’t understand what it’s like to be a women who is oppressed.
Gee, Rebecca, sounds like Tom’s had a rough time!
Or maybe he’s received a lot of flack because he helped create a “project” which is so antifeminist that Hugo fucking Schwyzer resigned from it, saying “It was not ethically possible for me to remain silent while the site with which I am now best associated took an increasingly anti-feminist stance.” (You can google the original post if you like, I ain’t linking to that creepfest.)
A project which delights in publishing pieces justifying rape if the rapist is enough of an OK dude or if it ~highlights~ the ~struggles~ of being a man in the modern world
surrounded by slutty bitches.
Maybe Tom Matlack has no right to discuss gender because he’s a fucking misogynist pig.
But that conversation might be a liiiiiiiiiittle bit too radical for the readers of the Herald.
Jessie Rose Foote, the daughter of two people who made horrible and deeply personal comments about her orientation while arguing against marriage equality, has now had her side of the story told in the Herald.
Under a different byline, one notes.
And Jessie sounds like a damn lovely person.
Despite it all she said she still loved her parents very much.
“Of course, I’d like more than anything to still be in their lives like I was. It’s just sad that, through their interpretation of the Bible, they’ve had to take such a stand,” she said.
Jesse Foote, did, however, admire her dad for standing up for what he believed in.
“I just wish he believed in something that wasn’t condemning my lifestyle. It is just heartbreaking that these strong religious beliefs have to come above everything, even family, and cause such division.”
If he was willing, she’d gladly resume their father-daughter relationship.
Despite the rift, Foote, the middle child of five, said she made sure her 11-year-old daughter visited her parents regularly.
“They’re not bad people and I want my daughter to go there because I think it’s important for her. They are, after all, her grandparents.”
Suffice it to say … I would not be so magnanimous. So all kudos and warm fuzzies to Jessie.
None to “journalist” Kathryn Powley – or, perhaps, the douchebag sub-editor who chose to put this little summary at the top of the article:
Conservative stance pits parents against lesbian daughter.
Um, it’s not a “conservative stance”, it’s labelling her entire life as “evil”. And she’s not just a “lesbian daughter”, she’s a parent, too, in a committed civil union. But expressing “Homophobic bigotry pits douchebags against an independent woman they still seem to think they own” wouldn’t give us the same “middle NZ vs scary radicals with buzzcuts” vibe, would it now?
Congratulations to the Herald for finding its ethics. Boo hiss for losing them again practically immediately.
I suppose the Herald should be congratulated for trying to find balance in this article on marriage equality. Two sets of parents with wildly different reactions to their child’s sexual orientation, looking at the marriage equality issue from both sides …
But I don’t think they really thought this one through.
Sue and Wayne Bennett of Ngaruawahia are super-supportive of their son, Tim. Tim is quoted as saying
“I was really scared of coming out because I could see from TV how people might react, but I actually found when I came out that the bullying stopped and I was accepted for who I was,”
His mother Sue is quoted as saying
“It was a celebration when Tim came out because we could all actually be honest with each other. We could support him and share stories with him and just enjoy being part of his world.”
By comparison, David and Penelope Foote of Whangarei are super-not-supportive of their daughter, who is unnamed. Their daughter is quoted as saying
Her mother is quoted as saying
the discovery that she was in a same-sex relationship was “the most traumatic thing we have ever been through”.
“It’s the result of abuse she has suffered [with men],” she said.
And if that right there doesn’t tell you which side in this debate is about compassion and empathy and which side is full of judgey haters, I don’t know what will.
There’s just one big question. Does David and Penelope’s daughter even know that her orientation – and, this being New Zealand, her identity – has just been used by her parents to make prejudiced bullshit statements in one of the country’s major newspapers?
Supplementary: Did the Herald even give enough of a fuck about this unnamed woman to check if she was okay with her privacy being shredded by parents who it seems like she’s not even talking to any more?
Dean Knight, writing for the Herald, makes what I would consider a fairly uncontentious point: yes, it would be lovely if people’s sexual orientations didn’t matter and no one cared, but the fact is our society still does treat heterosexuality as normal and everything else as aberrant, and people do care. His case in point is the All Blacks. Sure, you can argue that the sexuality of any individual All Black shouldn’t matter, but then they’d have to stop doing underwear commercials and selling their wedding pictures to the Woman’s Weekly, and that would probably be the killing blow to the New Zealand economy.
Oh, he also notes rugby culture in general might be just a tad homophobic.
Cue the outrage in the comments, which I do not recommend reading unless you’re feeling particularly in need of eye-rolling exercise or bitter cackling. It’s almost like the Herald’s online commenters didn’t actually read the piece, the way so many jump in to say “but it shouldn’t matter if an All Black is gay!”
Yes, my dears, but don’t you dare sit there acting like it doesn’t.
That’s just ironic. It’s the ones who start in on the blatant (oh but it’s just a FACT, you know) homophobia who will rob you of valuable warm feelings towards your fellow New Zealanders.
The big upside is that Knight makes some really key points about how rugby institutions have to be open-minded and accommodating for players who don’t fit the hetero blokey mold, and gives examples of how athletes from other codes have navigated playing-manly-sport-while-gay. And he got published in the NZ Herald while doing so.
Would be nice if the Herald showed the most basic modicum of commonsense comment moderation though.
The beautiful irony of this entire post, though, is the hat-tip I must now give. See, I don’t really read the Herald at all (though if I want online NZ news, it is marginally better than Stuff, though that’s not difficult.)
So I would never have seen this article were it not for the efforts of men’s defender and friend of Ideologically Impure, kiwi_prometheus. Had k_p not been so offended by the notion of a gay All Black that he just had to bring it up at The Standard, so outraged, so flabberghasted that anyone could question the tumescent, masculine heterosexuality of the All Blacks … well, this post couldn’t have happened without him.
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
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.