Tagged: journalism FAIL

Quickhit: election squick edition

In the mall, Mr Key gets a mixed reaction. The usual adoring punters, especially women, are photographed with him and often get a rub on the back in return as they pose for the camera.

I can’t pinpoint why this is setting off my vom reflex.  The awkward/inappropriate touching angle?  The fact it’s spun as positive?  The extra-rich saroma of Eau de Smile&Wave?


Stuff fail o’ the day II: side effects say what?

Actual headline:

Pill influences women’s love choices

Actual screenshot of frontpage teaser:

Actual lead sentence:

It gave us sexual freedom, but the pill may affect who women choose to shack up with.

Actual description of study:

The study of 2500 women from around the world found those who met their partner while on the pill were less satisfied with the sexual element of their relationship but more satisfied with non-physical elements – so less likely to separate.

But don’t get comfy, ladies, because the fact your relationship is built on more than sheer sexual attraction still means you are DOOOOOOOOOOOOMED.

However, growing sexual dissatisfaction could eventually tip that “delicate balance” and trigger a separation – especially if the woman was no longer taking the pill.

Because women are whores, see, thus when they stop taking the pill they realise that despite having been attracted to you by virtue of your sweetness and intellect and loyalty, all they really want is dick.  Dick dick dick dick dick.

Actual scientific fact mentioned nowhere in the article:  sometimes the Pill lowers libido!  Wait, no, I’m sure that’s not something any ethical researcher might want to control for or anything.  And sometimes two people might really be into each other but not be satisfied with the sex, and – brace yourself – breaking up over that “imbalance” might actually be the logical, adult, mature thing to d!

Wait, no, I forgot, staying in a relationship which leaves you unhappy and unfulfilled, in which you grow increasingly bitter but feel trapped because you’re constantly bombarded with messages about the tragedy of singlehood and how you’ll never find Mr Right, you picky bitch … is totally the healthy thing to do.

Actual advice given by researchers:

However, if they were really worried about the influence of the pill on how they felt about their partner, they could always stop taking it for a few months to reassure themselves.

You know what totally spices up my sex life?  The constant fear of unplanned pregnancy and the anticipation of exciting new side effects during a medication switch! WOOOOOOOO!

It’s not sex, it’s … oh Jesus fuck seriously?

Actual headline:

Man too “frightened” to stop sex assault

Actual lead sentence:

Police say a man was too “stunned and frightened” to stop his female friend being sexually assaulted in a Greymouth park early today.

Riddle me this, readers: is it more fucking contemptuous that a story about sexual assault is told entirely from the point of view of the male witness, or that the implication is that he should hand in his Man Card due to being too pissweak to defend his property female friend?

For bonus points, analyse the creepy race issues involved in describing the attacker as:

dark-skinned or part-Maori

Totally unbiased expert has totally new thoughts on OBEEEEEESITY

Michelle Bridges (you can see her on TV and buy her books!) has thoughts about disgusting fatties and how disgusting we are.  Did I mention you can see her on TV and buy her books and she works in the getting paid to tell people they are disgusting fitness industry?  This obviously makes her a totally disinterested expert.

And kinda oblivious:

It’s as if no one takes our obesity epidemic seriously.

I want some of what she’s smoking.  But let’s not write off Michelle Bridges as just another fat-hater, she’s a genius of marketing:

If a loved one is struggling with unhealthy lifestyle issues, lead by example and get your own exercise and nutrition habits in order first. Why? For the same reason an aircraft safety demo tells you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.

See?  Lest anyone be reading her diatribe about the horrors of junk food and the tsunami (tasteful word choice) of obeeeeeeesity that’s heading our way and thinking “Damn straight!  Fatties are gross, I’m so much better than them!” she lets you all know that you, too, should be buying her book and also watching her on TV “getting healthy”.

The beautiful irony is that she’s a “trainer” on The Biggest Loser, a show which is so much about health and lifestyle change that it lies about the amount of time between weigh-ins, carefully avoids banning contestants from adopting seriously damaging dietary habits(*pointed look*), and would really like it if previous contestants could shut up about how it doesn’t actually work already.* (Unless of course you believe everyone should spend their entire lives worrying about the calories in egg whites and giving the industry more money going to the gym on a daily basis.)

But the real bad guy here is Stuff, for once again presenting advertising as though it’s journalism.  And I wonder why I read blogs to get all my news …


*Even a blog called, literally, Burn The Fat Blog is against ya, Michelle.


Clearly the media meme of the month is “won’t someone think of the children, and the imaginary innocence we ascribe to them in order to justify our lack of openness about basic anatomy because it’s ~icky~?”

First up there’s a lovely example of modern journalism at work, where Elizabeth Binning decides to take the story of a young woman who was given good, comprehensive sex education with an emphasis on consent and full information about alternatives to cock-in-vag intercourse, who was then “taken advantage of” by an older man while drunk …


Students may wish to pay special attention to the interesting line Elizabeth Binning wants to draw between some mythical, pure “sex education” and the Disgusting Filth That Is Indoctrinating Our Children, particularly with the use of this quote:

When my mother signed the consent, she thought it was signing her way to her child knowing about reproduction and the actual human anatomy side of reproduction, not the methods on how it’s done.

Forgive me if this is a little TMI, but in my household, “actual human anatomy” and “how [sex is] done” are pretty much intertwined.

This is the panic: that we’re no longer presenting Innocent Children with sterile, confusing, infantilizing and denn da man puts his peeeenis into da wumman’s va-jay-jay and denn da babby comes out* “education”.  We’re actually acknowledging that they have bodies and that doing certain things with their bodies feels good and that there’s a fuckload more to it that some disembodied cock in vag in a vacuum = babies.

Fuck me, so to speak, it’s almost like we’re acknowledging that puberty is a thing where, in general, hormones do shit and incite emotions and things get a bit confusing, and maybe we can help kids through that by being simply honest about the reality of sex.

[And just to restate the obvious, that bland, safe “sex education” that we’re apparently missing?  Doesn’t do sweet fuck all for trans kids, kids dealing with same-sex or bisexual attraction, etc etc.]

Elizabeth Binning was clearly in the “middle-class outrage stories” seat this week because yesterday the story was all about the tragedy of a father discovering his son had been taught about … the clitoris.  Why, the class went so far as to insinuate that playing with a person’s clitoris can be a fun thing for both parties! [Though as LadyNews points out, it’s not *all* good.]

The high point of that one is lumping together “learning that oral sex may not always lead to intercourse” (gasp, faint), “learning that anal sex is an option” (when we all know the anus only has nerves because God wants us to be reminded of our disgusting biology every type we poop) with this particular horror:

Students also lay on the floor together with their eyes shut imagining the world was predominantly gay.

Followed immediately by the sentence:

The father said his son was too young to be given such graphic sex education and had come home upset.

Yep, that’s graphic all right.  Challenging society’s rampant heteronormativity by getting the kids to visualise, probably for all of a minute, a world where the hets aren’t in charge.  Truly, that’s some scary stuff right there.

Cue the entirely-coincidental Kiwi Party press release:

“Do you want your 14 year old daughter or grand-daughter to be taught in our schools how to apply “yucky and sticky condoms to a black plastic penis?” asks outraged grandmother Simonne Dyer deputy leader of the Kiwi Party after reading the lead story in this morning’s Herald.

One merely raises a sardonic eyebrow at the specificity of the black “plastic penis” (normal people call them “dildos”).  And I’ve got to say, I share some of this outrage.  The boys can bloody well learn how to put on condoms too.

You can guess how it goes from there, permissive society, parents’ rights, yadda yadda.

But these are simply the facts:

Teenagers are going to fuck.

Teenagers who fuck have every right to be aware of their options to protect themselves from sexually transmitted disease including and unplanned pregnancy.

Teenagers who manage to get to the fucking stage without already having absorbed ideas about their bodies being disgusting and their pleasurable feelings being evil?  Deserve a pat on the fucking back along with their comprehensive sex education.

And when teenagers like the young woman in the first story are taught about the importance of consent, and then are “taken advantage of” by older men who presumably didn’t get that memo in high school, I don’t think it’s her attitude I’m going to have a fucking go at.

Oh, and “grubby dad”?  Your son thinks girls are “yuck”?  I can’t imagine where he picked up that attitude.**


*Simmer down, quiltbaggers, only heterosexual cisgender people have intercourse.

**QoT has no fucking time for the notion that boys and girls are naturally repellent to each other during puberty.

Homework:  consider the links between the idea that we should never discuss icky sex with our children, and the continual refrain of “save families from filthy prostitution” from the same wankstains.  Sex: to fundies, just acknowledging it happens a lot (or at all) makes you a big fat sinner.

This is why the right always fuck education and the economy

Because they really like having a population who, even if they remember the difference between mean and median and why these can be flawed ways to measure things, don’t really have the time in between just surviving on shitty wages and crap job security and rising costs of living and lack of social support mechanisms to get all critical and cynical about blatant political lies.

(A competent media could help them out on that, but none have been seen in the wild in this region for years and the species is now feared to be on the point of extinction.)

Still, props to Bright Red for this guest post at The Standard laying out why our Minister of Finance is either amazingly incompetent or feels very secure in the knowledge that he simply will not be called on this shit.

Our teacher had 10 of us line up at the front of the class and measured our heights. From that she calculated an average.

Then, she got the tallest boy to stand on a chair and measured his height again. He was now 50cm higher. The average of the ten kids went up 5cm. But nearly all of were the same height.

That was the first lesson: average does not mean typical, it can be influenced by movements in outliers.

Though I always like the “kill two rhetorical birds with one stone” method of getting 6 people in a room, working out a rough average wage for them and then saying “Oh look, here comes the CEO of Telecom!  Now you all have a mean wage of $1 million a year so you must have no financial worries!”

There is no “pendulum”

There’s a nice (if by “nice” I mean “obscene”) piece of framing from Bill “I had no problem having a large family while collecting extra housing allowance from the taxpayer” English on the SATANIC UNDERAGE ABORTIONS issue:

If a school doctor wants to give a pupil a Panadol, they have to tell parents … It is time to swing the pendulum back in favour of parents

The “pendulum” is a fascinating insight into how those who would deny pregnant teens basic medical confidentiality think:  that teens and parents are inherently oppositional forces, and that the preferential treatment of one force – in this case, teens – is just a natural imbalance that needs to be corrected.

They of course can’t see the massive cognitive dissonance in arguing that the “pendulum” is too far in favour of teens … while using “parents have to give consent for Panadol” to back up their arguments.

And they can’t even begin to consider that maybe viewing themselves and their teenaged children as natural enemies, looking on their children as strange alien beings whose motives are inscrutable and who must be forced into line … might kinda be one of the big throbbing reasons their kids don’t want to fucking include them in discussions about sex and pregnancy.

Teenagers under 16 don’t get to have abortions without parental involvement because one day somebody just decided “hey, let’s experiment with the idea of giving teens this level of control, push the “pendulum” out there and dial it back after a while”.  They get to have abortions without parental notification because some parents are fucking evil bastards who are abusive and controlling and dangerous.  They get to have abortions without parental notification because pregnancy is a big fucking deal and only the person whose body it’s happening in, whose body will be irrevocably changed by it, who might fucking die from it, should have the right to decide whether it continues.

There is only a “pendulum” in this situation if you truly believe that the right to medical confidentiality and the right to choose whether to continue to be pregnant are not fundamental, straight-up human rights.  There is only a “pendulum” if you think an under-16-year-old’s rights are worth less than an adult’s, because they’re still the property of their parents (oh, fine, “under their parents’ authority” because that phrasing isn’t too uncomfortably accurate).

Imagine what else might be a “pendulum”.  Women’s right to vote?  Well, maybe it’s time to swing the pendulum back in favour of men, because that sure wasn’t predicated on women being men’s property.  Women’s right to be granted custody of their children post-divorce?  Maybe it’s time to swing the pendulum back in favour of husbands, because that sure wasn’t predicated on children being their father’s property.

Human rights are not fucking pendulums, Bill English.  Teenagers are not their parents’ property.  And the more that asshats like you talk about the rights of parents, the more I will feel certain that this issue is about nothing more than your need to control those you perceive as your property and the terrible fear you have of a future generation that neither needs nor wants your outmoded shit.

[H/T to LudditeJourno for further details on Bill English’s antichoice views.]

Pregnant teens deserve privacy and the SST needs a remedial journalism class

As a friend tweeted, remember the time I got trashed because abortion was a dead issue and no one really cared about it and our laws weren’t going to change any time soon so why didn’t I get back into the kitchen where I belonged?

Oh look.

Now it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Judith Collins thinks young pregnant people’s wishes are less important than enforcing their parents’ ownership rights, given her support of similar provisions during the 2004 Care of Children bill debate, nor that a finance minister of Catholic faith agrees.

But I have to give props to Dr Paul Hutchison for acknowledging, even in the most tempered terms, that this isn’t actually an automatic-moral-outrage issue:

We have to tread lightly, doing everything possible to have the parents involved. But having worked in places like National Women’s, where I saw women who had been beaten by their families because of an unknown pregnancy, that’s why the law is there

The alternative proposed, that young pregnant people should be able to see a judge in chambers within 24 hours, sounds fine and fucking dandy if you’ve got privilege shining out your ass.  What if the judge is an asshat and agrees with Collins and English that you should be forced to tell your parents unless you have written documentation to establish they’ll beat you?  What if the judge is a douchewad who believes in bullshit ideas like only “forcible” rape really counting??  What if you live in godforsaken Gore and the only judge willing to do teen abortion decisions is in fucking Rangiora but will only see you on a Wednesday? (Oh look, I’m drawing on the actual current abortion situation for some pregnant people).  What if your abusive parents demand to know where you’ve been?  I’m sure they’d react really well because obviously teenagers only refuse to tell their parents because they’re just “mental“.

What if we pass this retrograde bullshit and within two weeks the Sunday Star Fucktimes decides to run another panic-mongering article about School Counsellors Arranging Secret Judge Visits?

Because what this issue comes down to is some parents thinking they have every right to control every moment of their children’s lives.  The specific current story is about a parent who did find out and insists she would have been totally supportive of her child getting an abortion, but is outraged because she didn’t get to find out before the fact and because she didn’t get to exercise control in granting that “support”.

It is not about health.  It is not about supporting teenagers through a difficult time.  It is about control.   Scary, patriarchal control.

And Sunday Star-Times? Hire a fucking journalist with some basic ethics and numeracy, would you?  Because that shit scare-statistic at the bottom about How Many Teens Had Abortions!!! would be a lot less damaging to your rep as a publication with integrity if you noted that all the abortions performed on over-16-year-olds wouldn’t require parental consent under this shit law anyway.

Of course it would also make the Big Scary Number a lot smaller, and that would ruin the panic-mongering, wouldn’t it?

More awesome rage from Boganette.

Why self-reflect when there’s some good moral panic to foster?

Three good posts on the Sunday Star-Times’ wankpiece on SECRET SCHOOLYARD ABORTION PERFORMED BY SATAN HIMSELF:

There’s a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while about fucking Nigel fucking Latta and his “teenagers are just mental” bullshit, but this brings up some of the same issues.

Teenagers aren’t fucking aliens.  They’re not evil for no reason.  And if your teenaged child gets pregnant and wants to have an abortion and doesn’t feel able to tell you, guess what?  Not actually their fucking fault.  They have their reasons.

Their reasons may not be “objectively” real – like, maybe you aren’t the kind of bastard who’s going to cuss them out and bar them from the house (in which case, small cookie to you for being a lot better than plenty of other fucking “parents”) – but frankly, if you haven’t done your job as a parent by being open and nonjudgemental about sex, or by spelling out clearly and sincerely that you will always support their reproductive choices, they have no fucking reason to assume the best from you in a society which treats teen pregnancy like it’s bubonic fucking plague.

And if in those circumstances your teenaged child tells their friends and seeks out an adult they do trust and gets helped through the shitty fucking hoops our legal system puts in the way of abortion?  Try some fucking gratitude instead of making it All About Your Fucking Fee-Fees.

Don’t worry, boys, Virginia Larson isn’t like those other bitches

Following my initial “oh gods this is going to be hilarious” vibe on seeing the cover of the most recent North and South, I got a whole three columns in and I’m just bored.

Virigina Larson is a woman, you see.  And as a woman, because she cannot allow you to forget she’s a woman, right, a womanly, womanish woman, she has virtuously thrown herself into the line of fire between nasty evil feminists and our eternal foes, Poor Innocent Men.

Virginia Larson, being a woman, you see, thinks as a woman that we don’t say awesome shit about guys enough.  Or possibly that we don’t acknowledge men’s innate superiority enough, or possibly that we don’t own up to how we as a society socialise men into being superior self-sacrificers.  It’s not actually that clear what her point is, but I think it can be summed up as:

Virginia Larson is a cool chick, guys.  She’s not like other women, she loves men.

As a bit of a sidenote, part of my boredom possibly stems from the fact that I’m a geek.  I’m a gamer.  And I’m a woman.  And Virginia Larson is by no means the first woman I have seen try to gain credit on the male-dominated, male-controlled social status ladder by bagging other women and trying to fluff men’s egos.

The main difference is that Virginia Larson is getting a cover story on a national magazine to proclaim her own man-loving awesomeness, and that since she’s the editor clearly no one’s had the spine to say “um, Virginia, your article is unfocused, incoherent and really just a bit shit, love.”

Tell you what, I’m willing to take that bullet, just like Saint Virginia has taken our evil feminist bullets for Brave Selfless Men.


You’re not a misogynist collaborator in the oppression of women because you *dared* to write an article praising men.  You’re a misogynist collaborator in the oppression of women because you promote aren’t-women-silly stereotypes and act as though all women are Julia Roberts in a movie, and not Erin Kickass Brockovich, in the first fucking paragraph of your “article”:

No matter that all of [my women friends] are married to good men who trudge off to work every day, love their kids, clear the gutters and seem unlikely to suddenly declare they need a year of “to find themselves.”

You aren’t antifeminist because you challenged some Evil Feminist Conspiracy by putting a tender picture of a firefighter holding a baby on the cover.  You’re antifeminist because your publication even *underlined* the subtitle, “A woman’s view” as though that actually means anything, as though you get to speak for all women, as though one woman saying “hey men are kind of cool” will absolutely shake your mythical Feminist Monolith to its core.

You aren’t wilfully fucking clueless and a bad journalist to boot because Feminists Can’t Handle The Truth and there’s some evil Women’s Committee which will censure you at their next caucus for Challenging The Party Line.  You’re wilfully fucking clueless and a bad journalist to boot because you write crap like this:

“So, at the risk of digging myself into the sisterhood’s hole of no return – could this explain why men earn more than women?  Because they work longer hours at more dangerous and unpleasant jobs?  Because they’re more likely to accept the night shifts, hard shifts and postings to Afghanistan or Antarctica?  Because men get sought-after degrees … while women get degrees in art history or media studies?”

… and apparently it doesn’t cross your mind at all to wonder if women have been restricted from higher-paying/dangerous/manual jobs, if women who do take up those jobs have faced horrific harassment, if women might be the ones expected to do the bulk of childcaring which kinda precludes nightshift work (and many women have to do it anyway and then get shit for Abandoning Their Motherly Duties), if women are told, bluntly, plainly, constantly, that they aren’t smart enough to do Real Science or if Real Science and getting posted to Afghanistan might also conflict with the fact that a shit-tonne of men, despite, how did you put it, “lov[ing] their kids”, still expect their wives to do the school pickups and grocery shopping and think of spending a weekend together with the kids as “babysitting”?

You aren’t a shit writer because you like men, Virgina.  You’re a shit writer because you demand having your cake and eating it too.  Remind me, are boys just “naturally” “full of fizz”, or are men “socialised” to “be disposable”?  Because you don’t actually get to argue that (a) societies force men to be An Selfless Hero AND (b) men are just naturally more heroic than those dumb bitches who think they need to “find themselves”.

But I can’t really get angry at you, Virginia.  This is just garden-variety misogyny peddled to increase your own value to the patriarchy.  It’s a survival tactic many women have employed.  Please, don’t mistake my contempt as “offence” or “oversensitivity”: for all the promise of your wanky little cover, your desperate pandering to the privileged wankers who read North & South is just another dying scream from a gradually fading system of oppression.

Really, you’ve just given me hope.  Because when mainstream magazines have to publish crap like this to try to reinforce the status quo, we must be doing something right.