The blog war that has erupted on the left has been as vicious and brutal as a Tea Party conference sacrificing lambs to their angry Fox News God.
My calls for some type of peace by pointing out the feral descent into twitter bullying on the left was met with a tsunami of abuse by the Emerald Stormtroopers and aesthetic left of Labour making Wellington’s little brother complex look absolutely positively passive aggressive.
I appreciate that for me, a blogger who has always enjoyed a gadfly reputation for critiquing others on the left, to question the viciousness of the home goals being currently scored and call for a cessation of hostilities brings with it a certain irony, but even I have my limits.
The speed with which the fury has spun out of control has conveniently obscured the real issue which is Police inaction and a culture of misogyny within the Police force that seems to place sexual abuse alongside annoying elderly couples complaining about a neighbors dog digging up their berm.
The shear venom exchanged between the factions of the left is bitterly disappointing and I suspect has Green Party strategists smashing their faces into every keyboard in their office. Last election the Green leadership had to try and quell activists defacing billboards, this election it will be trying to reign in their supporters and staff members from using social media to push their own grudges and political posturing. I understand Labour strategists are keeping clear of it all and are shaking their head in total disbelief at the mishandling of it.
There have been a couple of interesting twists in the war this week worth reflecting upon.
Is Giovanni Tiso racist?
While Tiso is no friend of mine and whose constant twitter criticisms are a bit teenage, the assertion by blogging newcomer Donna Awatere Huata that he is racist is absurd. While watching an identity politics devotee like Tiso squirm as he’s attacked by another identity politics faction has a certain entertainment quality to it, Tiso is no racist. His blogs are insightful and despite some Middle Class fog horns on twitter complaining that my ‘unranked’ comment when assessing his impact on Radio Live was disrespectful, I hold Tiso in high regard as a blogger.
It’s his juvenile twitter feed that leaves much to be desired.
I think a lot of the criticism in Huata’s blog is unfair to Tiso and some of the other criticism leveled at his activism sounds more like the tired screams of mainstream pundit dinosaurs realizing their extinction in the age of social media is nigh.
Tiso should be congratulated for his activism and the righteousness of his desire to reclaim the public sphere from language and debate that was grossly offensive. That said, Donna does press home some interesting aspects of this debate by injecting race into it. That Willie & JT were punished while white broadcasters like Sean Plunket & Andrew Fagan (whose comments seem far worse) get away scot free will have many Maori feeling like they’ve been scapegoated once again.
That double standard isn’t Tiso’s fault, it comes back again to the ill-judged ignorance within Radio Live management. My understanding (confirmed from several sources) was that management had no problem with Willie & JT’s interview until the advertisers started calling to pull out. In that light, Tiso served an extraordinarily important service in bringing the issue to a head.
Is Graeme Edgeler a rape apologist?
Equally fascinating is the way Graeme Edgeler is being mauled by the Public Address faithful. His post on freedom of speech is a graceful and respectful argument defending Willie & JTs right to free speech. It is thoughtful and one would have hoped would have raised the standard of debate, pop into the comments if you want to see the acrimony it has generated.
While Graeme’s post is a really well argued blog, I think it misses the point significantly because I don’t think this is a freedom of speech debate. When the Police contacted me and threatened with with prosecution for posting a piece of satire that cut close to the bone, I pointed out that the issue wasn’t free speech, but was that the Police had the time to threaten me after 6 hours where as 2 years into the Roast Buster investigation no charges had been presented.
This isn’t about free speech, if JT and Willie want to post a podcast of their views on rape survivors, they are free to, this was about bringing consequences to a broadcaster in the public sphere who seemed oblivious to the level of offense it had generated. Calls to consider examples of South Park episodes or unpopular books in terms of speech that’s censored pales into insignificance when one considers the tens of thousands of historic rapes that have never seen justice.
That’s why I think such free speech debates in this context are technical or abstract. When you consider the horrific realities of the rape abuse that is being committed, arguing about the right to be offensive and ignorant seems to miss the point by several million light years.
I thank Graeme for stating his opinion, I disagree with it, but I am grateful for his inclusion in the debate. It is perhaps testament to how heated this discussion has become that so much vitriol has flowed his way for voicing his opinion.
QoT proves hell hath no fury like a blogger scorned
Lastly, a word on Queen of Scorns latest diatribe against this Blog and my character. QoT left the blog with Nicole Skews who quit after I refused to allow Skews to abuse a fellow blogger on TDB. I have an enormous level of respect for both of them as bloggers, but since leaving TDB, they have gone on to make absurd claims and down right defamatory remarks online which seem more wallowing martyrdom than genuine criticisms.
QoT’s latest attack is to claim that our desire on TDB to have more female voices is somehow a conspiracy to hide my true intentions of allowing the patriarchy to rule while paying lip service to diversity. She claims the lack of posts by the female bloggers in October is proof of this while I think that is a terrible slap in the face to the women bloggers on this site. QoT knows first hand from times she couldn’t get her blog through to us that there are many extra time issues for female bloggers to contend with. Family, work and study all impact on the time commitments people can commit to blogging, every blogger on this site has the ability to post whenever they want above the minimum commitments they agree to. This lack of voice is not the white men constricting a female perspective, it is the simple time realities of juggling blogging with real life. I get up at 4am to write all my blogs for the day, that’s not a commitment I ask of any other blogger to take onboard, to hold that up as evidence of a lip service to diversity is unjustified and mean spirited.
The insinuation that Amanda Kennedy, Christine Rose, Dianne Khan, Jenny Michie, Julie Anne Genter, Julie Fairey, LadyMac, Laila Harre, Latifa Daud, Louisa Wall, Marama Davidson, Moana Mackey, Penny Hulse, Phoebe Fletcher, Professor Jane Kelsey, Rachael Goldsmith, Sue Bradford, Susan St John, Tali Williams and Melissa Ansell-Bridges are somehow puppets being played for deceptive means by myself, Chris Trotter, Selwyn Manning, Frank Macskasy and Wayne Hope is as ludicrous as it is offensive to those women.
QoT is better than this type of snide commentary, it’s sad to see her anger overcome her cognitive skills as a blogger.
The current cycle of the progressive blogosphere waging war upon itself doesn’t look like it’s even close to ending. The personal acrimony and grudge building that is being created now will cast long shadows into next years election.
Meanwhile $282million gets spent over a decade of war in Afghanistan while 270 000 children live in poverty, this Government continue to privatize public assets to the wealthy who have been given billions in tax cuts and the NZ Police continue to avoid being held accountable for an entrenched culture of misogyny.
PS – To Ruminator who commented on QoTs post: The reason I have vocal right wing supporters on Citizen A is because Citizen A is a NZ on Air sponsored TV show. If I have strong left voices, it’s my responsibility to balance that with strong right wing opinions, those are the obligations of public broadcasting. On my own blog I don’t provide space for the Right to bleat, as you did with Judith Collins. Your inability to appreciate that suggests Ruminators blog title of internalizing complicated situations is optimistic.