On Thursday night, New Zealand Today went to air on TV3 with roughly half of its show dedicated to an exchange between the show’s host, Guy Williams, and Auckland mayoral candidate, Leo Molloy.
The piece was funny if not especially edifying. Even for the minority of us who do engage with local body politics, Leo Molloy is probably better known for his character rather than his policy positions.
Leo Molloy spent the vast majority of the segment teasing and insulting Guy. He used various low-level juvenile slurs and repeatedly accused Guy of being woke and soft. It ended with the pair having a boxing fight with novelty gloves before Guy recorded a parody endorsement video for Leo’s campaign.
Guy Williams is now facing a backlash for the piece. He’s been accused of platforming a mayoral candidate, of normalising offensive behaviour, and of ultimately helping Leo’s campaign. These are ridiculous critiques that only serve to further entrench the things they’re criticising.
Context is important. New Zealand Today’s audience is looking for a laugh. I can’t imagine many of the viewers tune in to what is clearly and obviously a comedy programme, expecting serious and robust analysis of local body politics. New Zealand Today is a comedy. It isn’t Q+A.
Nothing seems to highlight how damaged our political landscape has become quite like the current social media lynching of comedian Guy Williams.
Guy is less a poor mans Louis Theroux and more a bankrupt Oliver Driver.
He’s hilariously funny because the comedic pool he swims in is full of terribly unfunny too woke to joke comedians.
One’s who tweet angrily about Dave Chappelle or Ricky Gervais.
Guy is comedy adjacent because 7 Days is his competition.
His most recent interview with Leo is probably the funniest episode he’s done but the current dynamic of woke mob lynchings and deplatforming is the dominant activist philosophy of the Left right now and they want Guy hung drawn and quartered for enabling Leo.
That’s where we on the Left are now, we cancel comedians and denigrate anyone for laughing as war criminals.
Woke middle class identity politics dogma has infected the Left and spread faster than a new Covid variant on meth. Where we once focused on class, we now only champion intersctionist identity roulette.
“I am Trans, feminist, disabled, PoC and hear me #roar.”
Unfortunately this performative outrage olympics is as alienating as a cup of cold sick to the majority of the electorate and this is the very audience Leo Molloy is pitching to.
It is insanity personified that Leo is in second place, the last thing the Left needs is a culture war in the Auckland Mayoralty because trust me, the Left will lose!
No one would have seen this interview with Guy had Wayne Brown and the woke not alerted everyone. We haven’t appreciated the impact of social media in reshaping political battle lines.
I call it ‘Proxification’.
Because social media is now so ubiquitous, everyone has seen flameouts and vicious knife fights on contentious issues in their timelines and that activist screaming you are a Transphobic, Racist, Sexist, Vaccine-peddling, Satanic pedophile is enough for you to personally hate and be hurt and align yourself against that activist regardless of policy.
It wasn’t Trump saying outrageous things that attracted angry reactionary white working class vote, it was the intense reaction by middle class woke activists to Trump whom they had been insulted by that made the election so febrile.
Voters cut their noses off to spite their face because it angered people they despised.
If we on the Left aren’t talking about material progress in people’s lives (because challenging the neoliberal economic hegemonic structure is hard) and instead focus on the navel gazing of middle class identity aesthetics, those suffering economic misery walk away from us.
While we are arguing over pronouns, they are trying to find ways to pay for the rent!
That’s the same dynamic at play in NZ right now.
I warned the Left when Act was barely a 1% Party that if they jumped on the woke hate speech nonsense it would trigger a dormant political fault line. The woke activists didn’t listen, they tried to deplatform and control all speech and now ACT is a fucking 10% Party.
Guy Williams should not be cancelled (and neither should Jack for saying Guy shouldn’t be cancelled), it is the over the top pearl clutching deplatform cancellation that is triggering a populist revolt amongst voters and moving towards Leo as a candidate.
Outrage olympics on Twitter is killing the Left.
We need to be far kinder to individuals ands far crueller to corporations.
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