Tagged: They are The Standard they are many

A study in blogging while leftwing-and-feminist

Yesterday I made this post, both here and at The Standard. It was born of my frustration with the number of leftwing men who are still complaining about identity politics like they only just learned the phrase, still demanding that 100% of the left’s collective time and thought be about their personal issues, still basically crying like babies who are being asked to share their toys.

And the response pretty much proved my point.

I was told that their actions – which multiple other people had observed and commented on – were “in my head”.  I was told I needed to “get counselling”.  A comment was left here saying:

All fat hags should be neither seen nor heard.

My attempts at moderation – in hardly more aggressive terms than people like lprent normally dole out – were point-blank ignored, and labelled “censorship”.

I was cast as some “other blogger” who was imposing my terrible, bullying will on The Standard, normally such a genteel place.  The irony of that last point is that a mere day earlier, people had rallied around a comment which praised The Standard for being a more rough-and-tumble place.  Somehow it’s different when it’s a sweary woman doing it, isn’t it?

But of course it was really me who was silencing people, by objecting to their insistence that I be silent.

Of course I, and other commenters who agreed with me, needed to have basic democratic politics (“you see, we need to win elections in order to have the power to do things and the right don’t want us to win“) explained to us, because our ladybrains were just too confused.

And the conversation has carried on in other threads where people want to make it very clear that they are the reasonable, thoughtful ones who totally would agree with me if I wasn’t so goshdarned mean.

This is a standard (couldn’t help myself) day in the life of a feminist blogger on a leftwing site.  This is exactly what I tried to explain.  But I guess maybe we need yet another election where Labour’s woolly-headed waffle and stamping down on “identity groups” nets them another three years on the Opposition benches before the boys will listen.

My thanks to karol and weka, who have been allies in this conversation.

Unsurprising reactions

On marriage equality:

Most Standard commenters approve.  kiwi_prometheus is still obsessed with lesbians.

The Society for the Promotion of Community Standards don’t understand (or are pretending to not understand) that self-selecting phone-in polls are meaningless, especially when they’re getting a suspiciously big text bill this month.

The Civilian was the star media outlet on the ground, filing this insightful report mere moments after the vote was held.

Colin Craig continues to overestimate his own popular appeal – more on this one later.

On NZ Power

r0b is positive.  IrishBill is ready for a stoush.

David Farrar is pretending to be stupid, and his commentariat are completely buying it.

Chris Trotter has caught the whiff of victory and has always been at war with Eastcunliffe.

Danyl McLauchlan is probably depressingly on the money.

My unsurprising reaction?  Awesome to see Labour and the Greens working together.  Awesome to see some real game-changing policy with big sexy BERL reports behind it.  I can only hope they keep it up.

Pseudonymity

A lot of people who have the privilege of writing under their real/legal/given names perennially attack bloggers for posting under pseudonyms.  It’s happened to me, but the biggest target in the NZ blogosphere is probably the various pseudonymous posters at The Standard.

The charges are that pseudoynmous blogging (though let’s face it, they always call it “anonymous” blogging either because they don’t know the difference, they don’t like using big scary words, or they know it sounds scarier and more random) is unreliable and not worth reading, because:

  • you don’t know who’s writing it, and you can’t judge the words on their own merit without knowing if the author has red hair
  • you don’t know if it’s always the same person writing it, because anyone could have the password to that account (in fact I’ve recently seen specific allegations of this directed at a Standard poster: “oh, I know X used to have the password, but then Y had it and now I don’t know.”)
  • the writer never has to “back up” their opinions the way Real Writers Using Their Names do

And there are doubtless plenty of other reasons why you should just stop reading this right now because I’m incapable of having anything worth your attention if I haven’t shown you my birth certificate.

And all these arguments could have some validity to them.  Certainly when a troll with a rapidly-shifting pseudonym pops up in blog comments we often just say “Ignore them, they’re a troll.”  When a person’s writing has a lot of obvious bias in it, you may well find yourself saying “I wonder if there’s an ulterior motive to this.”

But there’s a big problem for me around all this, and that’s the long and honourable history of pseudonyms being used right there in the mainstream media which so often calls pseudoynmous bloggers mean names.

Take the editorial of the NZ Herald.  Do you know who writes it?  What their allegiances are?  Which political party, union or business lobby group they’ve inevitably worked for as a press secretary?  Certainly a lot of the more politically-active bloggers and personalities do, and that’s why you’ll see comments saying “Obviously they let [person] write the editorial today.”

But does your average Herald reader (they’ve still got a few, I’m sure) have a sodding clue whose work they’re reading?  Are they given any better reason to accept that opinion piece beyond “it’s published under the mighty banner of the Herald so they must be on to something”?

As for ulterior motives, changing identities?  Well, I look around at all the known attempts to make products go viral, to spam review pages or to astroturf comments on blogs … and let’s be honest, they’ve all been pretty arse.

If I, for example, am simply the sockpuppet of [pick a political party] designed purely to sway political conversation about [pick an issue] in [pick a direction], fuck me but I’m doing a fantastic job.  Four years’ blogging, 500 posts on a wide variety of topics, random periods of activity and down-time which to the untrained eye might look exactly like the work of a person who sometimes has time to blog and sometimes doesn’t?

Whoever’s running Ideologically Impure deserves some kind of political-spin-doctor Pulitzer.

Let’s look at other examples of pseudonyms.  In media:  were Ann Landers’ words of wisdom less valid, less accepted, because she wrote as Miss Manners?  How did anyone know that she had any basis for offering other people advice on etiquette?  Because they read her columns and thought “that sounds like good advice” and accepted the pseudonym as a reliable guide.

They could also probably tell she wasn’t multiple people in a dark and smokey room by the way her writing style was consistent and she didn’t go from saying “Wearing white at another person’s wedding is rude because it distracts attention from the bride” one week to “HOOTERS IS A TOTES KEWL VENYOO, YO” another.

So pseudonyms: OK when they’re printed by a respectable source.  When they’re just some member of the rabble who’s got a login and a pretty premade theme?  Unreliable, useless, shut up shut up shut up, how dare you have opinions not sanctioned by Proper Editorial Authorities.

The final charge I want to deal to is the idea that we pseudonymous types are cowards for sticking behind pseudonyms.  In a country the size of NZ, where everyone knows everyone, where our media and our political press departments overlap hugely, where a Cabinet Minister is more than happy to release the private financial details of people who cross her and literally doesn’t care when the Human Rights Commission says she did anything wrong …

You people who have the honour of being paid for your opinions really want to question why I’m sitting here behind a pseudonym?

Well fuck you, that’s why.

~

None of this even addresses the “side” issue, for me specifically, of blogging as a ranty feminist.  Kate Harding covered it very well many years ago.

On falsifying rape charges to take down An Hero

Not even mentioning the name, you all know who I’m talking about.

But I wanted to repeat a comment I made on The Standard:

My question, weka, is why are otherwise-intelligent people sincerely trying to argue that being charged with rape is Totally The Worst Thing Ever?

We all know that very few rapes get reported, even fewer get prosecuted, an infinitesimal number get convictions, and whenever the accused is a celebrity (reference: any rugby played accused of sexual assault EVER) there is in fact the complete oppositeof a negative societal response. Woman’s Weekly covers are practically guaranteed.

Yet we’re meant to believe that the Globalised US Hegemony can’t come up with better shit than rape accusations? At least in Blake’s 7 they had a sufficient understanding of human culture to make it child molestation.

~

Further thoughts:  it’s like people who whinge about “freedom of speech” when what they mean is “freedom from being told your speech is offensive and wrong”.  You sit there thinking, “Hello?  The moderators let through multiple, maybe dozens, of your comments before declaring it was off-topic and derailing.  If they really wanted an echo chamber they’d probably have cut you off from the word go.”

Similarly, here:  the sheer volume of people, including celebrities and mainstream media, who are jumping up to support a person accused of rape … and they don’t see how the widespread support he’s getting is kind of illustrative that rape isn’t the death-knell of celebrity, isn’t a one-way ticket to Gitmo, isn’t actually doing much to harm An Hero’s reputation?

No, clearly it’s the Feminist Hive Mind at work, so powerful we have to, um, keep Rosemary McLeod churning out shitty columns in order to obfuscate our real plans for world domination through rape complaints.

Guest post: Phil Goff’s balls

Now up at The Standard and reproduced below for those who choose not to tread there.

Guts. Backbone. Chutzpah. Grit. Will. Vision. Courage.

The one thing all of these words have in common is that Phil Goff could quite easily have used them instead of “balls” when he said:

“It’s time to make a decision that will build a stronger future for New Zealand. We’ve got the balls to do that. John Key doesn’t.”

And I know that Phil knows that, because he’s quoted using at least two of them elsewhere in that story.

Normally you’d cue up a big ol’ Queen of Thorns rant complete with naughty cusswords and all-caps. But seriously? Phil, save us the trouble of firing up a whole two brain cells to figure out your subliminal messaging. We get it. You’re a Man’s Man and you speak like Common People and The Days Of That Nasty Bitch Helen Are Behind Us.

You’ve been listening to Chris Trotter and you wanted to make it very clear, to talkback land and those nasty white-anting progressives at the same time, that you’re A Safe Pair Of Manly Man Hands and Not A Pussy.

You’ve chosen to put yourself firmly, obviously, in the camp (ha) of Damien “gaggle of gays” O’Connor.

Or alternatively you’re a bit shit at figuring out the implications of your own words.

In either case, those of us clinging to a phantom hope of a Labour/Green/Mana-or-Maori coalition actually delivering good outcomes for women, non-whites, queers et al can surely, at this point, take it as read that your party gives not a shit for us if we’re in the way of taking power. (And somehow expects us to vote for you anyway.)

I mean, when Jordan Carter’s pre-emptively parroting the line on Twitter I think we can safely file this crap under “Labour election key message”.

Or I’m just vindictively destroying the Left from within. Again.

Lament of the Gen Y

Just left the tiniest of rants on this post at The Standard and wanted to save it for posterity.

As I say in it, I do appreciate that saving is a thing Kiwis are bad at, and god knows as a smug white university-educated Auckland-born woman who’s managed to buy her first home before the age of 30, I do have occasional authoritarian twinges where my brain about how Some People Just Won’t Take Care Of Themselves.*

I then stomp on those twinges with big hobnailed boots because that way lies voting for ACT.

Anyway, it goes thusly:

I get that people need to save.  I get that Kiwis are pretty bad at this.

But some angry little part of me really, really resents fuckin’ baby boomers who got free varsity education, or didn’t need a varsity education to get a good career, who got cheap houses at low interest rates, who could raise a family on a single income and then decided investment property was the way to go after other/overlapping members of their generation fucked everyone’s faith in other investments, and thus in a multitude of ways made it so fucking hard for people my age to save and buy a house and service a mortgage, now want to say “Naughty children, you have to save for your retirement instead of paying down your mortgage / paying off the debt you accrued because your parents raised you in a value-free consumerist society!”

It’s full of generalisations and based on a solid foundation of “it’s not faaaaaaaair”, but you know?  It’s another reason I (despite actually being quite chuffed Labour has bitten gently gummed the bullet on the retirement age, though Idiot/Savant provides more than sufficient cynicism to balance that out) just can’t get behind Labour this election.

I hereby full acknowledge that I do expect too much in my dreams of a party which addresses things like private debt and lack of savings by actually challenging the basis of our self-obsessed consumer culture.  But a girl’s got to dream.

~

*It gets especially bad when viewing those sorted.org.nz television ads with the woman saying “It doesn’t seem like real money, you know?” WHAT DO YOU THINK IT IS, WOMAN aaaaargh *stomp stomp stomp*

Not a good look

October 3, post by Eddie on The Standard:

Key broke law on radio show

Prime Minister Moonbeam clearly broke the law on Friday on the radio show that he chose to run instead of dealing with the downgrade crisis. The law is clear: Key wasn’t allowed to make political statements.

First, Key promised to “talk to someone important” about Coronation Street moving time … That was, of course, a political promise to act in his capacity as Prime Minister. And it was clearly intended to encourage people to vote for him and his party.

October 4, unauthored post at The Standard:

When things look black

A clever billboard from Labour.  Apparently it has Kiwiblog’s knickers in a bunch, so it must be good!

Pay attention, kiddies:  a non-explicitly political manoeuvre designed to nevertheless build support in a crucial pre-election period by leveraging off popular current events is illegal when it’s John Key on the radio, but not Labour on a billboard.

Though as Idiot/Savant notes, Labour’s own official policy on the former is that it would’ve been fine if they’d given Phil Goff pseudoelectioneering airtime too.

Prediction corner: election aftermath edition

This isn’t directed at anyone specific, but suffice it to say that if National forms the next government, I will swear off alcohol for a month if no one in the lefty Kiwi blogosphere makes a post about how it’s all Mana’s fault and Ralph Nader Epsom voters RAM Hone Harawira screwed everything up for Labour and if only everyone else on the left / in the social justice movement had stood aside and waited their turn, and at least half the National voters had woken up / paid attention / used their brains / not been so stupid, it would all have been all right.

See also: comments to this post, the classic post from Steve Pierson