Spot the interesting trend in the names of the bloggers cited (in order of citation) in Bryce Edwards’ latest article about the “blog wars” taking place around rape culture:*
- Giovanni Tiso
- Graeme Edgeler
- “Prof Andrew Geddis”
- Chris Trotter
- Danyl Mclauchlan
- Scott Yorke
- Martyn Bradbury
- “Another identity activist”**
- Alan Alach [sic]
It just makes it all the more tragi-hilarious that Bryce, in the third paragraph of his article, says
Identity politics is, of course, the prioritisation of a person’s identity – ethnicity, gender, sexuality, etc – over issues of ideology, and especially economics and class.
The phrasing’s very interesting. It might almost seem to suggest that a mere identity is unworthy of “prioritising” over important things like ideology. It absolutely suggests that silly identity politics doesn’t ever involve discussing important things like economics and class.
It kinda also seems to imply that things like ethnicity, gender and sexuality aren’t as important as the real issues. Do you think that might be an easy conclusion to come to when your own personal ethnic, gender and sexual identities don’t come giftwrapped in centuries of economic and social oppression?
And do you ever notice how the real issues which identity politics are apparently distracting us from are always the issues which the person complaining about identity politics wants to talk about?
And seriously. Why is it always the men who talk about “prioritisation” like they’re not capable of thinking about more than one thing at a time?
*I have not included Donna Awatere Huata nor Annette Sykes as they’re mentioned in an earlier section of the column – but let’s note the only brown faces to appear on this topic are both supporting Tamihere and Jackson.
**Hi there! I have a name!
2005: John Tamihere interviewed in Investigate Magazine.
INVESTIGATE: What is the most powerful network in the Labour executive?
The Labour Party Wimmins [sic] Division. Whether it’s bagging cops that strangle protestors they should be beating the proverbial out of, or – it’s about an anti-men agenda, that’s what I reckon. It’s about men’s values, men’s communication standards, men’s conduct.
I spoke to the boards and principals association in Wellington, and I showed them a picture of two girls with their fists clenched, standing on top of two young male students. The object of the exercise was to prove that once again the female students had romped home academically against all the boys. If the positions in the photo were reversed, all hell would break loose.
Where else in the world do Amazons rule?
In our constitutional base you could kill the Prime Minister – sure, there’s a deputy prime minister – but in the interregnum the second in charge is the Speaker. The Governor-General. If those three die you go to the Chief Justice, another woman.
I don’t mind front-bums being promoted, but just because they are [women] shouldn’t be the issue. They’ve won that war. It’s just like the Maori – the Maori have won, why don’t they just get on with the bloody job. I think it becomes more grasping.
Other comments include “I’m sick and tired of hearing how many Jews got gassed”. Tamihere loses his seat in the 2005 election to Dr Pita Sharples and goes on to host a talkback show on Radio Live.
2009: Chris Trotter coins the term “Waitakere Man” in a post urging Labour to return to its working-class roots.
To win in 2008, National had to break Labour’s grip on the mixed metropolitan suburbs.The voter escorting National to its First Term Ball turned out to be the sort of bloke who spends Saturday afternoon knocking-back a few beers on the deck he’d built himself, and Saturday evening watching footy with his mates on the massive flat-screen plasma-TV he’s still paying-off.His missus works part-time to help out with the mortgage, and to keep their school-age offspring in cell-phones and computer games.National’s partner – let’s call him Waitakere Man – has a trade certificate that earns him much more than most university degrees. He’s nothing but contempt for “smart-arse intellectual bastards spouting politically-correct bullshit”.…On racial issues he’s conflicted. Some of his best friends really are Maori – and he usually agrees with the things John Tamihere says on Radio Live.…
National was getting two (or more) votes for the price of one. Sometimes Waitakere Man brought with him the votes of his mother, daughters, sisters, aunts and nieces as well. How had Clark forfeited the trust of Waitakere Woman?…What broke their connection with Clark was the anti-smacking legislation. They felt affronted – as if their parenting skills had been weighed in the balance of the Prime Minister’s conscience and found wanting. Clark, who had no children, was telling them how to raise their kids. She seemed to be passing judgement on their whole family – turning them into criminals. They felt betrayed.Waitakere Woman’s sense of betrayal, combined with the ingrained misogyny and cultural diffidence of Waitakere Man, was what got National onto the dance floor in 2008. Key should read both Rodney Hide’s intransigence on Maori representation, and the recent Referendum’s unequivocal result, as timely reminders of the price of his party’s admission.When the band begins to play, Waitakere Man and Waitakere Woman must not be left standing.
In making this decision it has not only chosen wrongly, but it has also dealt what may prove to be a fatal blow to the career of one of its more talented MPs, Phil Twyford.“Waitakere Man/Woman” is the key to Labour’s recovery.…[quotes previous post on Waitakere Man]…Carmel Sepuloni’s going to win back those voters?
Following a judicial recount, Sepuloni misses out on the seat by nine votes and was not returned to Parliament due to her placing at 24th on the party list. Phil Twyford returned to Parliament after winning the seat of Te Atatū.
2012: Chris Trotter identifies John Tamihere as the “avatar” of Waitakere Man.
Mulling over the Labour Party’s decision to re-admit John Tamihere to its ranks, I’m beginning to understand how Dr Frankenstein felt. “Waitakere Man” – the monster I created more than three years ago on the pages of The Independent Business Weekly – has not only gone its own way, it’s acquired a powerful, new, flesh-and-blood political avatar.
Waitakere Man proved troublesome from the moment he emerged from my computer keyboard. Many people believed he was myavatar. They charged me with counselling the Labour Party to embrace this bigoted blowhard and tailor its policies to suit his prejudices. Not true. My intent was only ever to make Labour aware of Waitakere Man’s existence.
It seems that Phil Goff has coincidentally started following Trotter’s advice, but Trotter, ever the voice of wisdom, warns:
When, inevitably, [Waitakere Man] brings his knee up between progressive Labour’s legs, let no one who voted for Mr Tamihere’s re-admission feign either horror or surprise.
August 2013: Chris Trotter theorises Tamihere will run for Waitakere under New Zealand First, and win.
But, if Tamihere (JT) runs, it won’t be in Labour red. Though the party eventually agreed to accept his 2012 membership application, the word in Labour circles is that a Tamihere candidacy in Waitakere would be approved only over the dead bodies of the party’s women’s and LGBTI sector groups.
That the very attitudes and values that produce such an allergic reaction among Labour’s social liberals and identity politicians might also be the attitudes and values of the average Waitakere voter, is as neat a summation of Labour’s dilemma as one is likely to find in the topsy-turvy context of contemporary electoral politics.
By recruiting JT to the NZ First cause and putting him up in Waitakere against both Paula Bennett and whoever Labour chooses (probably Carmel Sepuloni) Peters could grow the overall NZ First Party Vote by as much as 2-3 percent. On election night that could mean a NZ First tally of 8-10 percent – rather than the 6-8 percent it is currently anticipating.
Trotter also refers to Paula Bennett as “oozing BBW appeal”.
5 November 2013: Following media exposure of the “Roast Busters” rape club, John Tamihere and Willie Jackson bully a rape survivor on their talkback show. [Post by Giovanni Tiso featuring transcript of the questions asked]
Tell me this, how old are you?
How did your parents consent to you going out as a 14-year-old til 3am in the morning?
So anyway you fibbed, lied, whatever, and went out to the parties – did you not know they were up to this mischief?
Well, you know when you were going to parties, were you forced to drink?
Don’t youse [sic] know what these guys are up to?
Yeah but girls shouldn’t be drinking anyway, should they?
6 November 2013: Danyl Mclauchlan posts on the Roast Busters/John Tamihere issue.
There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on in and around this instantly-infamous Radio Live clip …
… Finally, there’s a huge amount of affection for Tamihere amongst the Trotterist factions of the Labour Party. People like Mike Williams and Josie Pagani feel JT’s well-documented pathological contempt for woman would be an electoral asset among blue-collar male voters, and David Shearer gushed that he’d be an amazing Minister for Social Development. The core tenet of Trotterism is that identity politics isn’t important, and if that faction in the party had its way they’d have a welfare spokesman who thinks that young girls who drink alcohol deserve to be gang-raped. So let me say again that Tamihere would be a poor choice for that role, and that, like Shane Jones he is basically un-electable, and that people in the Labour Party should stop promoting these weird, creepy misogynists.
I’d exercise a little caution if I were you, Danyl.
8 November, 2013: Josie Pagani (whose views on these issues would have to be the subject of a separate post) posts at Pundit on the issue.
I am disgusted with the attitudes of Willie and JT … But I don’t support banning them from radio. The painful, ugly truth about the attitudes of Willie and JT is that they are shared by tens of thousands of men who think women should take responsibility for not being raped.
Willie and JT’s job is to discuss stuff. You don’t fix their faulty attitude by telling the part of our community who think they have a point, that it should not have a voice. You deal with it by argument.
Because where do you end up if you get banned for expression? You end up like the pathological blogger Dimpost, who effectively attributes blame to me for the words and attitudes of Willie & JT.
It goes something like this – I have previously spoken out in support of Willie and JT, as politicians with something to contribute to the community. Therefore, I am responsible for everything JT says (and therefore the inference is that I agree with everything he says).
How perverse do you have to be to implicate a woman in the anti-woman views expressed on radio? What is really happening here is that he is trying to silence me (and others) because he disagrees with me about other political issues. This is where you end up when you try to have Willie and JT removed from the radio – banning people you disagree with, not just those who hold offensive views.
And Chris Trotter responds in comments:
Danyl McLaughlin’s [sic] association of Josie and myself with the behaviour of the Roastbusters and their defenders – based on nothing more substantial than that we share a political analysis with which he disaggrees – marks a new low for his blog. Perhaps you should ask yourself whether Danyl’s compulsion to denounce, denigrate and distress those by whom he feels threatened makes him more, or less, like the Roastbusters he purports to abhor?
The TLDR of all of this: Chris Trotter has repeatedly made it clear that he thinks there is a “Waitakere Man” archetype of NZ voter who is a narrow-minded white dude who likes, and is even embodied by (except for the whiteness, obviously) John Tamihere. Chris Trotter has repeatedly urged the Labour Party to appeal to this archetype – though always in every-so-slightly cagey terms like “dance partner”. Which makes it very convenient, when Tamihere is an abusive fuck to rape victims, for Trotter to distance himself from the whole situation and paint himself as the victim.
You don’t get to constantly grind down identity politics and put your view of working-class (or is it self-employed?)/lower-middle-class men on a pedestal, then complain when the obvious misogyny and bullying behaviour which comes with that archetype explodes into the public view.
Here endeth the lesson.
Homework: consider the idea, posited by The Egonomist and others, that the promotion of a particular type of bigoted redneck thinking is identity politics – and the reason we don’t recognise this is because some identities get to be “normal” and not “other”.
This post was originally published at The Daily Blog on 5 July 2013.
It’s that time of year when whitey complains about the fact that New Zealand is home to a unique indigenous language, and the best efforts of past whiteys has failed to eliminate it, and now we actually dare to treat it like a valuable thing which should be promoted, all to mess with the minds of tiny white babies who will get confused if they’re told there’s more than one way to say “three”.
By which I mean to say, it’s Māori Language Week.
Linguist Nathan Albury has a column in the Dominion Post hoping that we’re going to get a proper Māori language strategy which keeps te reo alive. But that doesn’t let us individual Pākehā off the hook, people.
Here’s some suggestions from Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori – the Māori Language Commission.
Learn the 100 Māori words every New Zealander should know (and when you’re done there’s 365 additional words and phrases)
Download some resources for your office like bilingual signs
… and whenever you hear people bagging the promotion of te reo, or whinging that their children shouldn’t have to learn some Foreign Devil Tongue, remind them, using as many cusswords as you like, that te reo is unique to New Zealand, that it makes New Zealand English unique, that language learning does awesome things to your brain, and that it’s no more useless a bit of knowledge than all that fucking trigonometry we were forced to do at school.
Tragically, Nickolodeon is no longer hosting the video of the te reo Spongebob Squarepants episode they did for 2009, but here’s an interview with the voice actor!
(This post was written and scheduled before the announcement of David Shearer’s resignation – it’s still applicable though, especially as the Labour Party figures out what kind of leader it wants going into 2014.)
The bulk of this comment was originally posted here.
The problem is traditional Labour voters staying at home because their interests are continually put on the back burner in favour of identity politics issues that they don’t really care about, and that don’t affect them personally. Some of these people no doubt wonder whether folks like you are saboteurs funded by National and its business backers.
To which I responded:
Fuck I hate this line.
Class politics have never been put “on the backburner” because of identity politics.
The big gains in identity-politics areas – ignoring weka’s very good point that class politics are identity politics – have almost always been through Private Members’ Bills, not Labour-in-Government Bills.
The reason class politics have been put on the backburner is because some fucking idiot white dudes bought into the idea that class politics weren’t vote-winners. That being More Like John Key was the way to go. That pushing the idea of the “deserving poor” as compared to “bludging beneficiaries” would get the votes of Middle New Zealand.
Don’t fucking blame women and queer folk and people of colour for the consistent, deliberate efforts of the Phil Goff and David Shearer-led Labour Party to paint themselves as “good economic managers” who would be “fiscally responsible”.
The party can’t even design a solid, leftwing state housing policy – they have to make it about encouraging the private sector, framing $300k houses as “affordable”, and then slapping Michael Joseph Savage’s face all over it.
That’s got nothing to do with identity politics and everything to do with a party still in denial about the damage it did to our country and its own soul via Rogernomics.
Seriously, I must have missed the 2011 Labour Party election manifesto which was printed in rainbow colours with a wheelchair-using woman of colour on the cover, entitled: “KILL ALL MEN” with a First 100 Days plan consisting entirely of day spas, pride marches, nurse-ins at Workingmen’s Clubs and nationwide rallies to smash pink penis-pinatas.
I do actually kind of love these kinds of stories. See, despite white people settling themselves down in Aotearoa/NZ all those years ago and naming stuff after each other, it seems that the incredibly-creative “North Island” and “South Island” were never officially named as such.
So now the NZ Geographic Board, who have great form for innocently following procedure and stirring up white people’s privilege defence mechanisms, have suggested we official-ise the names – and maybe use Te Ika-a-Māui and Te Waipounamu instead, or in conjunction.
Cue the fucking whinging, and the incredibly bad reportage in the media. 3News hasn’t deigned to put the two-sentence blurb read out on last night’s broadcast onto their website, but their text article makes for some great close analysis:
The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) has announced it will publicly consult on proposals to adopt new names for New Zealand’s two main islands.
Proposals to adopt new names. Because the names which the indigenous people of the country called something long before Whitey A said to Whitey B, “This one’s more north than the other one! And that one’s more south! Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” are obviously new scary terrifying changey things!!! which will destroy our society and confuse our children.
(And because of course it’s far too inconvenient to note that Whitey A forgot to follow proper process while re-naming the land he was appropriating.)
I’m with marty mars on this one. Use the names with provenance. Use the names which mean something. Use names which are undeniably New Zealand names.
And although the change is frightening, here’s a reassuring tale: a few generations back, one of my relatives was given the middle name Egmont. And today I explain to people, “well the name Egmont came from the fact they were living near Taranaki.” And if those people are under about 25? I have to explain why that makes sense.
I am now a fully-fledged author over at The Standard, largely thanks to my own
talents ego. I’ll be reposting my TS posts here at a slight delay, but don’t worry, you’ll still be getting a lot of the ranty stuff I don’t feel like challenging some of the lovely commenters over there with …
I originally wrote about this way back in February 2011, and though the political landscape has changed since then, the point still needs to be made: the Left, specifically Labour, cannot focus on a narrow pure economic set of arguments and expect to get majority support.
It’s the 21st century, people. The “identities” which have been traditionally used to demean, oppress, and sometimes enslave or kill people are real, because those people – women, people of colour, people with disabilities, the whole wide world of QUILTBAG – have been given no choice but to say “Yep, that’s what I am, now you have to deal with me.”
Old white dudes like John Ansell complain about how we should live in a “colour-blind” society, but that’s because for once, for the smallest period of time, and in a time when old white dudesstill pretty much rule the roost, people whose colour and origins have been used to keep them down aren’t staying down any more.
They – and many other historically shat-on groups – are demanding that we acknowledge the reality: some people have faced systematic, institutional oppression which has at the very least disadvantaged them and stopped them achieving their potential the way they could’ve if they’d been born … well, as old white dudes.
This has economic factors to it, sure – strangely enough, capitalist societies are really, really good at using economic pressure against people – but it’s not a pure old-school Labour ideal of The Workers vs. The Owners.
For Labour to survive, it has to embrace fairness. It’s certainly claiming to, at the moment, but it’s a narrow, nasty kind of fairness, a very John Ansell definition of fairness: fairness defined by old white dudes who don’t realise – who choose not to see – that comparatively they have it pretty damn good in life.
It’s the kind of fairness that gets twisted very easily into ignoring all that uncomfortable historic systematic oppression. Just like this: Why should a person who can paint his roof on a specific day get a handout from the government, just because our entire economy is based on people working flat-tack 40 hours a week if you’re lucky, just because employers aren’t willing to put up with the unpredictability and extra effort needed to hire someone with a chronic illness?
If you agree with this for no other reason, please consider this: as soon as you start using the principle of “fairness” to mean fairness for one group of people and not another, you’re being a dick and opening yourself up to attack from the Right – a group who have been far more successful at this game throughout history.
The Left needs to include feminism – and all the other movements for people’s basic human rights – because it should be about “fairness”. It should be about the many and varied ways in which capitalism controls us and screws us, not just our meal breaks.
Labour, specifically, needs a vision. A vision of all people being treated with dignity, all people’s situations being considered in compassionate and non-judgey ways, all people being supported and looked after by our society as a whole. A vision of a society whose members understand that we are all pulling together and we are all more successful when we help each other, even if sometimes this means that on the surface one person is “getting more” than another. To each according to their need, innit?
Remember, visions are like Excalibur. If you use them right, they pretty much make you the king.
This article was referred to me by my partner, who enjoys watching me pace around our house occasionally crying out “I MEAN, SERIOUSLY?”
Furious Devonport residents are threatening to occupy a naval base in a move usually used by Maori to draw attention to disputed land.
What’s wonderful about that opening line is the way it signals ever so subtly that “Devonport residents” and “Maori” are mutually-exclusive groups of people.
What’s simultaneously tragic and hilarious is how our media are taking this all very seriously. I mean, these people have occupied this land, sometimes for generations! They have a bond to it! And now the Crown, damn them, is just trampling all over their rights by conducting a commercial transaction over a piece of non-residential, no-longer-required-by-the-Navy, doesn’t-affect-access-to-any-beaches-but-might-mean-there-are-brown-people-on-them land.
Land which, just incidentally, the buyers originally owned/occupied.
But there’s no room for any analysis or questioning of this narrative, no room to acknowledge “oh hai, one of the reasons y’all have such mighty property values might have something to do with us fucking over the indigenous people of the area”. Nope, it’s all straight-faced “this is our land, why aren’t you consulting the community!” right up to the point of threatening to occupy the land.
Why people’s heads aren’t imploding from sheer irony is baffling to me. Why the same demographic of people [warning: generalisations inbound] who elect National MPs, who buy into rhetoric about how The RMA Just Stifles Development and We Need To Deregulate The Building Industry, now have the sheer gall to say “but they [read: brown people with ideas above their station] might just build a lot of infill housing and threaten our infrastructure, honest that’s my concern!” is a testament to the massive privilege they enjoy.
You’re not the righteous little guy standing up to the big mean [brown] Goliath, residents of Devonport. (I mean come on, it’s fucking Devonport.) You are the Goliaths. I can tell, you see, by the way your whinging about “community” and “consultation” and “access to the beaches” are getting taken seriously.
‘Cause let’s be honest, if you were Ngati Whatua and you wanted to cross some failed finance company CEO’s beachfront backyard to get to ancestral shellfish grounds to provide food to your marae as you’ve done for hundreds of years? You’d probably be shit out of luck. I’m guessing.
It’s a horrid cliche, if you’re on the right side of social justice: young black man, unarmed, walking home from the store, murdered by a self-appointed white guy with a gun who cried “self-defence” and has not, thus far, been held to account for his actions.
Fuck that shit. Sign the petition, if nothing else. And don’t let this crap go unquestioned.
A trifecta of good stuff for you this evening.
Craig Ranapia on Greg “if everyone would just be good little proles then the cops wouldn’t have to beat you” O’Connor and Tiki “brown man with completely inexplicable dislike of agents of repressive state apparatus” Taane:
But the one thing O’Connor and his ilk can’t do – and even worse, don’t believe they have to seriously try – is back up their assertion that words and music they don’t like lead to real world crime.
Gordon Campbell on both legal aid/the anti-nanny-state Government’s strange nanny-state-esque behaviour:
So far, the Key government has reduced the right to a jury trial, extended the powers of search and surveillance by state agencies, restricted the rights against self incrimination, sought the ability to conduct trials in the absence of the accused, and ended the independence of the agency dispensing legal aid – and that’s even before we got to today’s changes.
As Scoop consistently argued, the dispute was always about getting Warners more money, and the union dispute was being used as a diversion to that end. Simultaneously, the climate of anti-union hysteria did no harm to the ability of the government to get its rewrite of some key elements in our industrial legislation framework through Parliament.
What the graphs show is that Labour’s caucus will look broadly similar to New Zealand, but will continue to moderately underrepresent women, Maori, and New Zealanders of Asian descent. The Rainbow community is either marginally overrepresented (by about one MP) or represented proportionally, depending on which population estimate you prefer. And Pasifika peoples are overrepresented in Labour’s caucus by 1-2 MPs.
I got into a conversation a few days ago on the topic “what can [privileged people] do to help [unprivileged people] without sounding like they want cookies or are using their privilege to dominate/take over?”
And while tackling this on a variety of spectra (as happens when a gay white man is talking to a straight white woman about privilege), talking about sitting down, listening, remembering it’s Not About You, I had a sudden epiphany.
All privileged people are some analogue of Schrödinger’s Rapist.
When you approach me in public, you are Schrödinger’s Rapist. You may or may not be a man who would commit rape. I won’t know for sure unless you start sexually assaulting me. I can’t see inside your head, and I don’t know your intentions. If you expect me to trust you—to accept you at face value as a nice sort of guy—you are not only failing to respect my reasonable caution, you are being cavalier about my personal safety.
I’m a straight woman with Real Queer Friends. I know I’m a nice person, I know I don’t [consciously] judge people for being not-heterosexual. And after years of friendship, my friends may be working on the assumption that I am not a threat, not a person who is going to suddenly use “gay” as a derogatory term or crack hilarious jokes about buttsex.
Working on the assumption.
Because I am Schrödinger’s Heterosexual: my friends can never truly be certain whether or not I’m homophobic or transphobic or see the world in heteronormative terms until I demonstrate it. Until I fail the test.
And that goes for my race privilege, and my class privilege, and my education privilege.
And there’s no pass condition on this. A privileged person can simply never actually prove with 100% certainty that they will never be a threat or a problem or a trigger to an unprivileged person.
And lords and ladies, we’ve got more than enough extreme-headdesk-worth examples of people who really, really should know better pulling some serious asshattery.* Until now, they might have been Schrödinger’s Mainstream Feminists. Now we’ve opened the box and had a look and it ain’t pretty.
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.
*Author’s note: I originally went to type that as “people who you would never think would be bigots”. I get to assume these people aren’t bigots, because I’m a straight white lady. That’s privilege.