A couple of months ago I was asked to write a post for the Ruminator and, rather optimistically, I agreed.The original brief was to respond to a post by Judith Collins. My post was going to be about snapper, not trout. But considering that issue, along with Judith’s leadership aspirations, has floundered, I’ll try another hook.
Idiot/Savant pretty nicely captures the self-satisfied Dad Joke tone of it all.
Judith Collins is a vile fucking human being. There are just so many things we can pick on her for. Using a tired old slur about her age, gender and appearance? Just fucking stop it.
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.
So, Dame Susan Devoy is our new Race Relations Commissioner.
We need a day that doesn’t necessarily replace Waitangi Day but complements it.
That doesn’t mean we lose sight of the significance and meaning of the Treaty but an opportunity to recognise that New Zealand is a multicultural society continuing to evolve as a nation of many people and not just Maori and Pakeha.
… This would leave … the door open for a day that we don’t feel ashamed to be a New Zealander; a day where we don’t only focus on the grievances of the past; a day that is positive and uplifting and, above all else, makes us feel good about ourselves. After all isn’t that the real meaning of holiday?
Our Race Relations Commissioner thinks Waitangi Day isn’t a proper national day because it focuses on [RACE-BASED] grievances of the past and makes her ashamed to be a [WHITE] New Zealander.
It gets better, though, because earlier in the article Dame Susan notes:
We only need to look across the Tasman to witness how Australians celebrate their day … you do have to admire the way they celebrate their national day with a great showing of patriotism.
Mmmm, delicious patriotism.
Here’s my question(s): does it concern Judith Collins that she’s appointed a Race Relations Commissioner who – at least a year ago – didn’t even seem to know the first thing about race relations in Australia, our nearest neighbour? Wasn’t even aware that a growing number of Australians celebrate Invasion Day instead? Thinks that we shouldn’t even have to spend one day out of 365 considering issues which are at the very heart of race relations in our own country?
Shouldn’t a Race Relations Commissioner know something about race relations? Like, that the concept even exists?
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?
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.
And God forbid our media actually subject this idea to basic logical analysis (even when the Police Commissioner himself seems to get it. Doesn’t stop him calling for more guns in cop cars though.)
So here it is, as simply as I can put it.
Scenario 1: Bruce Mellor has gun in lockbox in car. He doesn’t get it out because it’s a basic freaking traffic stop.
Bruce Mellor still gets attacked from behind by young thugs with a machete, Bruce Mellor still ends up in hospital.
Scenario 2: Bruce Mellor gets gun out of car for routine erratic-driving stop.
We now live in a South Africa-esque environment where cops treat every interaction with civilians as a potential gunfight. Young people who are randomly and viciously violent continue to be randomly and viciously violent towards lone cops.
Scenario 3: Bruce Mellor doesn’t pull his gun at every opportunity, but vicious youths in car are “more aware” that as a cop he may be armed.
Apparently this is the entire point of giving cops more access to guns. Congratulations, O’Connor, Broad and Collins, because in this one the attackers don’t reach for a machete, they get their own guns and shoot Bruce Mellor in the back.
Scenario 4: Greg O’Connor/Judith Collins fantasyland edition
Citizens are humbled by authority of mighty police force! Curfews for all! Bow before your uniformed gods lest they smite you down! Paradise on earth ensues, at least for smug white privileged people! New Zealanders “grow up” and just come to accept Police shootings so Greg O’Connor’s gun/authority-boner may be satisfied! Beatings shall continue until morale improves, and then having been demonstrated an effective morale-booster shall continue on! ALL HAIL GLORIOUS POLICE STATE OF AOTEAROA/NEW ZEALAND, LAND OF THE LONG WHITE PEPPER-SPRAY RESIDUE.