This post was originally published at The Daily Blog on 4 April 2013.
Bunji at The Standard identifies this – I think super-correctly – as another distraction tactic, from the Minister who continues to have a reputation as a hardline smacker-down of social naughtiness, despite never actually crushing a single car. Idiot/Savant notes the unequal treatment cyber-bullying will be getting under law.
And hell, even the Sensible Sentencing Trust thinks it’s a waste of money.
Personally? I’ve always had issues about the way bullying carried out over
scary new technological platforms gets massively over-hyped as though it’s a completely different beast from vile rumours going around the schoolyard, getting smacked around in a locker room, crank-calls or being worked to breaking point by a sociopathic manager.
I get that Cyber-Bullying (TM) has the added impact of lasting on the internet forever and being accessible by literally anyone, but honestly? I’ve always thought that was just an embarrassment cherry on top of a huge shame-and-ostracisation pie.
What seriously annoys me though is when sentences like this don’t get someone laughed out of Cabinet:
Ms Collins says the proposed new approved agency will help people get the support they need to stop cyber bullying quickly.
It’s like all those Stuff commenters who think we need to issue all beneficiaries with personally-identifiable credit cards which can only be redeemed for state-determined food and services, because they’ve been raised in hermetically-sealed bubbles and don’t understand how administration works, i.e. involves money and people
and functioning IT systems (let’s not even go there).
For an agency to be “quick” to respond to cyber-bullying, it has to be staffed to the gills and overpowered to a despotic extent. Otherwise?
- Fill in the form.
- Wait for it to be assessed.
- Be asked to provide more information.
- Hope no one emails it to another client.
- If bullying is found to be occurring, file papers with the hosting agency or ISP.
- If the bullying’s happening on Facebook and doesn’t involve naked breasts, don’t hold your breath.
- Eventually, the first post might get taken down, after being seen by all the people you care about – i.e. your schoolmates – and probably retweeted and shared and mirrored Gods know where else.
It’s either completely unrealistic or completely terrifying to talk about a government agency which can “quickly” combat anything happening online, where the situation changes by the minute. Where most of the damage – like with most bullying – is done with the first blow, the first post, the first time you realise anyone could have seen it.
For it to work, you’d have to build a secure bunker of nerds empowered to hack into literally every site and domain on the internet and delete stuff at the merest hint of complaint in an email. Which is seriously scary, and also totally unworkable, because who heard about this and didn’t immediately assume there’d be a tsunami of vexatious complaints?
But it fits a really comfy narrative for a media who still buy into the idea that Judith Collins is a powerful decisive getting-things-done politician and who also don’t really understand social media, or – given how many I saw today annoyed / bemused / bolshy / snarky that the State Services Commission dared to declare a press conference Twitter-free – assume that their audience don’t.
And a tiny note to the Labour Party: just let Andrew Little front this issue, okay? I don’t think we really want the risk involved in having Clare Curran talking about cyber-bullying. Clare Curran who allegedly (wouldn’t want to post anything knowingly false, now) petitioned the Labour Party Council to demand the outing and censure of Labour Party members who criticise
her The Party on blogs.
It’s hard to overstate my satisfaction.
Today, gentle readers, Ideologically Impure is three years old.
Okay, enough of the gratuitous Portal references.*
It all started all those years ago with And thus … a blog. I was really just looking for a place to vent my spleen away from Bookface or Livejournal, and I guess I hoped someone would read it eventually. And apparently you do!
Since then, I’ve guest–posted at The Standard, helped contribute to and host the Down Under Feminists’ Carnival, and most recently kicked off a badass new collective Kiwi feminist blog, The Stroppery, with some lovely co-angry bitches.
To shamelessly thief an idea from The End is Naenae, the top ten posts at Ideologically Impure over its time have been:
- Pippa Wetzell resigns from TVNZ (sadly, fully establishing the inability of middle New Zealand to comprehend satire, or how blogs work)
- I am a woman and I enjoy sex
- Just fuck you, ALAC. Fuck you and fuck the horse you rode in on (sadly, no doubt bumped up due to far too many horse-porn fans on the Google)
- Who needs identity politics?
- Why chicks dig “jerks”
- Schrödinger’s Privilege
- Abortion reform: all about destroying The Left
- Newlands College to be awarded Grand Woman-Shaming Prize at secret Patriarchy Conference
- Fuck rugby culture
- This is what this feminist looks like
A nice grab-bag of my favourite issues, really.
Onwards and upwards!
*Note: Queen of Thorns rejects the notion that there is an upper limit to gratuitous Portal references.
Remember this wonderfully shite piece of publicity-stunt-gone-wrong with side order of gee-who-would-have-thought-we-had-a-bad/oblivious-police-rape-culture? Well, it turns out we were all wrong and actually it was a total success.
AnneE has the goods over at The Hand Mirror:
First sentence: “A sexist police recruitment advertisement which was quickly axed has been wildly successful – attracting record numbers of potential recruits.” Notice the addition of the word “potential” – not quite the same thing as actual recruits.
Near the end of the report it turns out that this “success” claim is based on a briefing from police public affairs general manager Michael Player to Judith Collins.
You see, they ran a campaign which caused significant online outrage and quite coincidentally a lot of people visited the relevant website, obviously to sign up, and not for any seeing-what-all-the-fuss-was-about looking-for-contact-details-to-write-complaint-emails reasons. At all.
And if you believe that, they have a whole “no more culture of raping vulnerable young women” bridge to sell you.