So, the world kept turning while I was away recovering spoons. But thanks to the power of bookmarking, I kept track of a few things I knew I’d want to comment on when I came back.
First up: the Into the River ~~~~~scandal~~~~. Craig at Public Address had a great post about it, which led me to Emma Neale’s great post about it, and Edgar Wolf’s great post about it, and I don’t intend to repeat any of the points they made.
What I want to talk about is the notion, put forward in comments on Emma’s post, that some teenagers need to be protected/sheltered/etc from content which is “raw”, or challenging, or unnerving. I want to be as reasonable and understanding as Emma, who responds really well to those comments, who agrees that parents are in a good position to judge what their kids are prepared for … but teenage!QoT has other plans.
No, the book isn’t going to be perfect for everyone. No book is perfect for everyone. Some books contain themes or scenes or stories which just aren’t going to work for every reader, things which some readers want or need to avoid.
On the other hand, though, being a teenager is pretty fucking unnerving in of itself. It’s a time of grappling with who you are and how life works and what’s right or wrong and why your brain is full of weasels. In a way, teens may be desperately craving things which are “raw” – because it’s not being delivered through their parents’ perspective – and unnerving – because they know there’s a huge world out there and they want to understand it.
I was a geek of a pre-teen/teenager, and I devoured the works of Tamora Pierce. There’s plenty of scenes in her books which made me squirmy. Not full-blown sex scenes, just sexual scenes. Sometimes uncomfortable sexual scenes. Uncomfortable because the protagonist is grappling with her emotions, or being told to ignore them, or not knowing if she’s doing the right thing or if it’s going to be worth the fallout afterwards, worried about pregnancy, worried that being a sexual being will change the way the other men in her life treat her.
Yeah, it was raw, and it was unsettling, and it was a lot to process, but fuck, I’m glad I got to work through all that vicariously rather than enter teenagehood completely unprepared for the idea that emotional decisions aren’t always black-and-white and sex can be complicated but doesn’t have to be.
Of course, there’s the other side of things: the side of things where teenagers aren’t toddlers. They can get out of the house and go to libraries, and if there’s one thing pretty universal to them, it’s the desire to do things which look fun and are forbidden. Teenage!QoT just wants to know this, parents: do you want to be the parent your teen knows they can’t talk to about the messed-up shit going on in their heads?
I’ve discovered Spotify (I’m one of nature’s late adopters) so allow me to express myself through music:
… okay, so 2/3 are breakup songs. That’s kind of wildly inappropriate. Take the attitude, not the content!
Life has been seriously busy, so it’s been good to have a break from blogging, recharge the batteries, attend a few wild parties. Naturally, the entire country went to hell in a handbasket, so I may have one or two posts sitting in the Drafts folder which date back a little. I’m sure you’ll forgive me.
At this point we could be a year out from an election. Isn’t that scary?
Yep, a nice little milestone in the history of Ideologically Impure was passed last week, during my sudden spurt (tee hee hee) of posts.
The only problem with commemorating this in proper retrospective style is that I already did my 2012 retrospective, and it’s only been a couple of months really since post 500 … so here’s some all-new Bad Religion, the band who basically sum up my approach to life.
No idea how this happened, really – I just sat down one day and decided my sweary rants were just as valid as any of the other blogs out there. And here we are, post 500, after a mere 4.288 years.
If you’re in the mood for a wee trip down memory lane, here’s a slightly-edited top 10 of my posts over that time – as determined by views, taking away static pages and posts which ended up being viewbait by virtue of hassling someone’s school or mentioning P***a Wetz***.
Do you want to know why I’m angry and ranty and full of cussing, Chris? Because misogynists are denying me autonomy. Because the law treats me like I’m too flighty and irrational to make legal medical decisions. Because fuckwits like YOU are fucking running interference for God-bothering fundy wankstains and letting me know loud and clear that yet again The Great Left is no fucking ally to those whose oppression doesn’t affect straight white “working-class” man.
What the fucking fuck, “Real Life”? [Content note: misgendering]
Oh, right. Because screw the happiness on these kids’ faces and screw their wonderfully eloquent expressions of who they are and howthey wish to be identified. We must never be allowed to forget for one fucking second, even in a documentary that purports to treat these kids and their families sympathetically, that COCK means BOY and TRUCKS and VIDEO GAMES and VAGINA means GIRL and PIGTAILS and PINKPINKPINK.
Listen up, Nice Guys: the idea you cling to, that women only like jerks/assholes/bad boys?
Is totally valid.
When your definition of “jerk” is “guy currently fucking the woman you want to fuck“.
We privileged people do not “deserve” the automatic trust or assumption of good faith or patience of unprivileged people [especially while in the act of fucking up]. And that’s okay, because it’s not about us. And that’s Basic Ally-hood 101.
The Wellywood sign is the equivalent of a guy in his late forties who spends a whole dinner party pointing out to every single person that he’s grown a ‘stache and his wife told him it makes him look a bit like George Clooney in The Men Who Stare At Goats.
Who needs identity politics? (Yes, two posts relating to Chris Trotter, what can I say?)
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.
Just fuck you, ALAC. Fuck you and fuck the horse you rode in on (Greetings, people who got here by searching for horse porn!)
Not that ALAC cares about Lisa, or any woman, for that matter: apparently the only thing that’s changed since the temperance movement of the 19th century is that someone figured out that the phrase “demon drink” is probably just going to make The Kids think it’s cool.
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.
Because, Mr Fry, do you know what happens to women who openly state they enjoy sex, who act in an overtly sexual manner, who admit to casual sex?
If they get raped, their rapist walks free.
Share your favourite QoT moments in the comments, if you like. Even the trolls can join in!
Since I’ve been linked to from the Herald a few times now, I feel oddly compelled to let you know up front that this one gets sweary, people. I make no apologies.
Louisa Wall and Colin Craig appeared on Q&A to discuss the marriage equality / adoption equality issue.*
Colin Craig’s statements were, happily, entirely illustrative of his bullshit, unjustifiable stance on the topics (his refusal to answer the question “do you respect members of the gay community who want this” especially so):
SHANE Colin Craig, do you support one law for all?
MR CRAIG I support equal rights and privileges for all New Zealanders.
SHANE One law for all, though?
MR CRAIG Yeah, I don’t like that phrase, but equal rights and privileges for New Zealanders.
SHANE So why do you support one law for heterosexuals and one law for homosexuals?
MR CRAIG Well, look, I agree with civil unions. … What we’re talking about here is who has the right to use and define the word “marriage”, and I believe there’s a status quo. We’ve got generation after generation, marriage has been between and a woman, and that is what I believe the New Zealanders want. They’ve got cultural investment in this, historical investment in this, religious investment in this.
So Colin basically thinks New Zealanders should have equal rights and privileges, except for the heteros who get exclusive domain of the word “marriage”. Which is apparently simultaneously a minor, piffling matter, but also vitally important to our cultural identity. (And remember, it’s those scary queer people who want “special” rights!)
One hates to invoke anecdata, but you know? I can’t think of a single married couple I know who thought “shit yeah, getting a bit of paper that The Gays can’t get really shows how strong our relationship is!”
MR CRAIG The only difference here is the word “marriage”. I mean, we’re not talking about an issue of equality across other things.
Colin Craig, you are a fucking liar. Or a complete, ignorant numpty. Possibly both. I’m going with both.
A Civil Union is not recognised in the same way as a marriage out of New Zealand. If you wish to be legally recognised as Civil Unions partners in another country, you would have to apply in the country you wish to live in, if they have this law.
Civil Union partners do not at present have the right to adopt a child
Bonus objectifying language from Colin for the win:
There are a number of homosexuals who take a different view.
I imagine him pronouncing it the way Mr Gormsby does.
But here’s the bit I wanted to address specifically:
MR CRAIG OK, I support the existing law. … Now, I actually think – and it’s my opinion – I actually think there are difference between a man and a woman. I actually think that when we get to choose the environment in which a child grows up, to have both a male and female role model, a mum and a dad is the ideal, and therefore I do support that restriction.
And please pardon the unladylike nature of the next sentence:
FUCK YOU, COLIN CRAIG. ON BEHALF OF ALL THE MEN WHO STOOD AS MALE ROLE MODELS FOR ME IN MY CHILDHOOD, FUCK. YOU.
It’s obvious enough that Colin Craig is talking absolute shit when he equates “having a male and female role model” with “a mum and dad” – and that’s even if we pass by the wonderfully archaic gender essentialism, the indignant “well I actually think boys and girls are different” defence.
But fuck, this fucks me right off.
Y’see, folks, the man responsible for ejaculating in my mother’s vague direction at an optimal ovulation point wanted sweet fuck all to do with me (probably also the fault of gay people undermining the Sanctity Of The Family or something). So he fucked off.
Now, apparently this spells immediate Becoming Another Child Abuse / Teen Pregnancy / Drug Use Statistic for the infant Queen of Thorns – after all, no dad, no Male Role Model to keep her straight and narrow, straight being the most important bit.
(Of course, infant Queen of Thorns having been assigned gender “female” at birth probably means Male Role Models Aren’t As Important For Her or something, but bear with me.)
Patriarchal wankoffs like Colin Craig want to pretend that my upbringing, sans one out of two gamete-donors, must have been immediately disadvantaged, a permanent stain on my psyche. My mother remaining single is, after all, only marginally better than my mother taking up with another woman, which must have scarred me irreparably.
But hang on.
Who are those guys over there?
Why look, it’s my grandfather, who among other things imbued me with a love of science fiction and an allergy to terrible puns. It’s my uncle, who has exactly my sense of humour. My stepdad, whose strict regimen of Culturally Important Experiences (largely involving classic films and NZ music of the 70s) allow me to make obscure references no one else my age gets to this day. And all the other men in our extended family and community who each stood as another example of What Men Are Like and How Men May Act and who, bygiving a shit about my welfare and growth, did a fuckload more for me than Mr Sperm Donor Fuckhead did before he vanished from my life.
Basically, male role models? I had fucking plenty. And most of them were pretty kickass, and, sorry, Colin, most of them made significant contributions to the sweary, ranty, righteous, fuck-you-I-won’t-do-what-you-tell-me personality you see before you today.
The idea that my mother, in some parallel universe, hooking up with a woman at any point after my arrival (and, tragically, having some kind of deep and committed relationship!!!!) would somehow have denied me these important relationships is complete. Fucking. Bullshit.
And I love my mum, but the idea that she was somehow my Only Possible Female Role Model is likewise bullshit. (Especially given the dominance of women in New Zealand teaching and early childhood education.)
The idea that in some pseudo-1950s Golden Age, I would have automatically been better off either (a) being raised by parents forced to marry following my conception or (b) being taken from my mother and raised by a complete different grab-bag of people … is complete. Fucking. Bullshit.
And let’s be honest here, when people start talking about “traditional family values” or “returning to a better time”, that’s what they mean. Oh, they will protest, no, we just meant the good parts of a fantasy past where all marriages were completely permanently perfect and all pregnancies completely safe and wanted. But ain’t it just like fundy fuckstains to pretend that their utopia is completely unproblematic?
Children are not raised in a vacuum, in which emotional or psychological development can only be performed by Female Parental Unit A and Male Parental Unit B. And it is fucking insulting to all the people out there who do play roles in the lives of children who they don’t even own – because that’s what this is about at its core, classic, ancient, patriarchal “rraaaa! My bloodline must be propagated to prove my virility! Behold the children I claim to show the power of my wang! Rrraaa!” – to act like if you don’t get called Mummy or Daddy you may as well go home.
If I could take my childhood over again I would not change one fucking thing, Colin. Because I fail to see what Mr Deadbeat Fuckhead could have done to make me any more awesome than I am today.
In my heart of hearts, I’m deeply hoping for a “maybe he would’ve given you a damn good spanking and turned you into more of a lady!” response. Please don’t disappoint me.
I’ve revamped the place! Fame, in the form of being linked to from The Herald (and not in the context of Deborah Coddington airing her martyrdom) does that to people, or so I’m told.
Fear not, there will be a real post later tonight in the form of a SlutWalk Aotearoa 2012 roundup. It still doesn’t involve me doing much writing, but you can cope.
Not much to report on tonight. Class sizes are going up, prescription costs are going up, John Banks is somehow still an elected representative of the people of Epsom (to be fair, a majority of them may well aspire to a life of helicopter trips and bags of cash), Elliot Turner’s defence lawyers think “but he loved her so he can’t have killed her” is some kind of compelling argument, and Labour screwed the pooch on The Nation (either because of leadership wank or because of sheer incompetence, I don’t mind which you pick.)
Roll on the weekend! Just one more day to go …
(And if you’re in Wellington on Sunday, do join us at SlutWalk.)
My spam folder was heating up again, so I figured I’d share the highlights of what got cleansed.
First conclusion: spammers are getting oddly specific in their targets, this time trying to appeal to my New Zealand film industry-centred patriotism.
PS I sympathise with your desire to see more of India’s infinite riches of culture and nature… creativity and beauty… and yet can you imagine the impossibility for those of us who can only make the rarest of rare journeys to your land… and one where your filming has ranged so widely over the most amazing terrains conceivable that you have SURELY seen more than almost any other of India’s inhabitants…
The alternative is that someone, somewhere, had the epiphany that a lot of countries put pride in their film industries, so this would score big hits. Just … maybe not on posts about abortion law reform?
Also, confused about why we’re specifically bagging India. In spam from something alleging to be air-conditioning-related.
Second up: the ever-hilarious “link exchange” proposal.
Would you be inquisitive about exchanging hyperlinks?
I would be very inquisitive as to who the heck falls for this these days. You want to link to my site? Go for it. I’ll link to yours if I find it interesting. But then, plenty of people still honestly think a complete stranger from [insert country here] has died childless and just wants their $MegaFortune to go to someone with the [insert your misspelled surname here] family name, so I can’t pretend to be too surprised.
Finally, a big shout-out to all the bots who decided a post plugging a blog called Fat and Slutty was the right place for weightloss tips, and all the terribly confused people who just love my blog layout yet don’t notice how the name of the theme is right there at the bottom of the page. I’m sorry I can’t help you.
~This post brought to you by the Campaign to Make QoT Blog More Regularly, Real Life Be Damned~
Well, that’s my take on this piece of dogwhistling, anyway.
Oh, sure, it sounds nice and reasonable. We don’t want to waste Mah Taxpayer Dollars monitoring obviously good parents, right?
Until you think about how exactly you personally are defining “obviously good parents”, and perhaps figuring out that it might be the teensiest bit subjective. And also really mostly based on stereotypes about poor brown people bashing their kids to death because they’re inherently primitive.
Really, let’s just consider this supposedly-eminently-sensible list of criteria from one-man-lobby-group Bob McCoskrie:
“How many times in abuse cases have we heard ‘the family was known to CYF’? It is families where there is family breakdown and instability, drug and alcohol abuse, low maternal age, mental illness, previous family violence – all the risk factors highlighted in reports over the past decade on child abuse – who we should be closely monitoring.”
Totally sensible. But … you know what? Every single item on that list applies to my family. Divorces galore, alcoholism in spades, teenage pregnancies left right and centre, depression, anxiety, history of generational physical abuse …
All the risk factors.
But were we “known to CYFS”? Did anyone think shit, here’s a family we need to keep an eye on, because there’s clearly some big issues which could result in severe harm?
The family home being located in one of the richer streets of Epsom, and the family complexion ranging from “pasty” to “lightly tanned”, maaaaaaaay just have something to do with that.
But I guess as soon as we start listing other “risk factors” like lack of access to education and housing and healthcare and jobs, we might have to start wondering if maybe we as part of the wider society have a tiny weensy hand in this whole deprivation/poverty thing.
And then we wouldn’t be able to create a police state around the specific groups of people who we don’t like.