Welcome to some more scary men versus women division

“A compelling new entrant in the contest for the world’s worst IDP article contest being held by Radio NZ and The Spinoff”

Someone sent me that, with a link to this at RNZ: Welcome to the scary party, young men

By Anna Connell

There might be some truth behind US President Donald Trump’s claim that it’s a “scary time for young men”, but not in the way he thinks.

Mr Trump’s assertion that it’s a “scary time for young men in America” because “you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of” comes as his nominee for the supreme court, Brett Kavanaugh, faces several allegations of sexual misconduct.

It’s nearly impossible to argue Mr Trump is referring to a genuine fear with his comments. Simply put, false accusations of sexual assault are rare – only 2 to 10 percent of sexual assault reports in the US are found to be false, and it is equally rare that false accusations lead to convictions.

According to the National Registry of Exonerations in the US, there are only 52 cases where men convicted of sexual assault were exonerated because it turned out they were falsely accused. Meanwhile, it’s estimated 1 in 6 American women will experience rape or attempted rape in their lifetime. Welcome to the scary party, young men – it might be a scary time for you now but, as someone on Twitter said, it’s been a scary millennium for women.

Mr Trump is using abstract fear here, tapping into a vein of anxiety about a disruption to a comfortable, ordered way of life. A way of life where boys could be boys and men could be men. Where women knew their place and a slap on the bum wasn’t ‘unwanted sexual touching’. Where white men held all the power and women weren’t making runs at the White House.

This resonates with his supporters because, in the face of rapid societal change (and that is what we’re experiencing), your options are to embrace the unknown or retreat to the safety of the past.

Please don’t burn my feminist card for saying this, but I have some genuine empathy for this position. In this instance, Mr Trump is somewhat right – it is a scary time to be a young man but not for the reasons he suggests.

The roles men and women play in modern western societies have changed at a rapid pace. Where once men had a sure sense of their identity as the breadwinner and head of the family, women now work and sometimes earn more than men do.

Where sex was just something men did to women, with or without consent, it’s now something women insist on enjoying and being an equal party to. Where once men could largely ignore domestic and child-rearing obligations, they are now expected to play a role at home, or even stay there while women go to work.

Let me be clear, this is all a good thing, a great thing, a necessary thing, and plenty of men are wholly comfortable with it. But that change has happened at a rapid rate and I worry that men don’t know how to talk about it without fear. Those who do talk about it often dwell on the past, reverting to values and mores that are fast fading.

Where and how do young men discuss the now and the future? Where do they find good role models? Where do they learn and talk about sex and consent that isn’t a porn site or a sniggering playground conversation?

A lot of men versus women generalisations here.

Many men are excellent role models. Most men don’t sexually abuse or rape women (or other men).

It’s really hard to be empathetic about all this when women are only just gaining some space to make their fears, rightful anger, and desire for change acknowledged. But somewhere in there, I think we have to make some space to acknowledge that many men are full of fear too. That fear might not be justified and it’s hard for many women, myself included, to see it as anything other than entitlement and privilege, but it is fear nonetheless.

It’s a scary time for young men, not because they might be held accountable for their actions, but because their fear is being weaponised for political gain, encouraged by those who gain the most from division and hate. Acknowledging that might just be the first step in diffusing its power.

There is an issue with the possibility that some men might be “encouraged by those who gain the most from division and hate” – but Connell seems unaware that she is also encouraging gender division and hate.

 

‘Hate speech’ – hateful expressions, or knowingly stirring up hate

I’ve seen this term used a number of times: “You don’t hate people.”

I have always seen ‘hate’ as a very strong term, but there seems to be a lot of hate today, often for trivial things.

The Oxford dictionary tends towards it being a strong term:

hate (verb)

1 Feel intense dislike for.

   1.2 Have a strong aversion to (something)

Hate (noun)

1 Intense dislike

   1.1 Denoting hostile actions motivated by intense dislike or prejudice

People seem to have intense dislike of fairly trivial things these days. There was an item last night on Sunday on road rage which showed extraordinary and violent reactions to relatively minor incidents on roads.

‘Hate speech’ has been a big talking point lately.

Do people really hate things that others say?

Or do they just hate that people say things they disagree with?

I suspect there’s a lot more tendency towards the latter.

John Roughan: Forceful speech is not always hate speech

Some things a parent says to a child go in very deep and stay for life. I can still hear my mother telling me, “You don’t hate people.”

I quickly forgot who it was I’d just announced I hated because her reply was more interesting. “You hate what they say or do, you don’t hate them. You don’t hate people.” Her tone was matter of fact not moralistic, and I worked out what she meant. It was simply a fact, there was goodness in everyone.

I agree to a large extent, although I thing hate could be justified for some people. Despicable actions can be hated, and despicable people can also be hated.

Hate is a heavy word and I rarely use it…

Same for me, but I see and hear the term used a lot.

…but it is getting quite an airing in this very important debate we are having since Phil Goff closed Auckland Council venues to Stefan Moyneux and Lauren Southern. This week supporters of the mayor have decided “free speech is not hate speech”, which, on the evidence of the banned pair’s internet posts, seems unfair.

Southern hates Islamic attitudes to women and for that reason she hates Islamic immigration. I think my mother would permit that, probably agree with it. I’m not sure what Molyneux hates…

I don’t know whether Southern hates Muslims, Islamic attitudes to women or Islamic immigration. But she certainly seems to stir up feelings of hate, both in support and in opposition to what she says,

I strongly disagree with some aspects of the Islamic religion, but that’s in general terms. I strongly disagree with aspects of the Christian religion, and the Jewish religion, and other religions.

I strongly disagree with some Islamic attitudes to women  – and also to some Kiwi attitudes to women as expressed online.

However I don’t hate Islamic immigration, nor do I fear it. I have no reason to do so. I don’t hate Muslim immigrants, and I certainly don’t hate Muslim people I pass on the streets of Dunedin (that happens quite often). I have no reason whatsoever to hate these people.

But some people do seem to hate Islam, hate Muslims, and appear to hate Muslim immigrants.

If Southern and Molyneux play on some people’s hates and fears, if they provoke expressions of hate, then are they guilty of hate speech?

Or is it just speech that they know will provoke feelings and expressions of hate? Are they trying to generate and propagate a frenzy of hate?

It is possible to stir up hate without using specifically hateful phrases in their speech.

Perhaps that’s what others hate about Southern and Molyneux.

 

Praise and hate after Hosking and Street announcement

I never cared for Mike Hosking. I rarely watched Seven Sharp, it wasn’t a programme that attracted my attention.

In the age of celebrity some media portrayed the announcement last night that Hosking and co-host Toni Street (she was a face without a name to me) were finishing their stint on Seven Sharp as ‘Breaking News!’ That’s become normal lame, ‘breaking news’ is broken.

Of course 1 News praised their highly paid employees, but some of the reaction showed how much hate is expressed on social media.

1 News: Watch as Toni Street and Mike Hosking say they’re stepping down from Seven Sharp after four years co-hosting show

After four years, Toni Street and Mike Hosking are stepping down as co-hosts of TVNZ 1’s Seven Sharp.

Toni is cutting back on her weeknight work commitments to spend more time with her family.

“This decision has not come easy for me, but with two young children, I want to be home more often in the evenings for them.”

Mike says the feelings were mutual.

“This was particularly important to me personally to honour what has been one of the best combinations on television,” he said.

Hosking, like many media ‘personalities’, are not shy to praise themselves.

“That given we started together we end together. It is also always good to leave on your own terms and at your own time, often a rare trick in media.”

John Gillespie, TVNZ’s Head of News and Current Affairs, said the company was working through potential opportunities with Mike for the future.

“Toni and Mike are stepping down tomorrow night. They’re a dynamic and great team and together they’ve made a big difference for viewers and TVNZ. Their leadership at 7pm has been a defining force in our media landscape.”

More media self praise, somewhat embellished. Leadership? Leaders of the trite and banal perhaps, that’s the direction media seems to view it’s salvation as growing numbers of people desert broadcast television.

1 News managed to select some praise of the two people changing jobs ‘A great duo’ – Viewers react to news Mike Hosking and Toni Street leaving Seven Sharp.

Friday night’s programme will be their last, the pair announced at the end of tonight’s show.

It was a show, largely entertainment. For some – I just didn’t watch what wasn’t my style of programme.

But Hosking has been a polarising figure in politics. He has capably conducted election debates, but on shows and radion was seem by the left to be a right wing enemy, so attracted a lot of vitriol.

And on his announcement last night the hate flowed as freely as the praise.

A thread at The Standard included:

 Bye bye Mike…. from 7 Sharp…. And there is now dancing in the streets!

Good job. TVNZ have been a nest of right wing vipers for too long.

TVNZ is a neoliberal propaganda outlet.
It’s managers, editors and senior business and political staff all work towards the goal of disseminating such propaganda.

I agree. Comical Ali was more impartial than Hoskings.

Hosking was the propaganda wing for John Key

He’s also quite thick, has almost no education, and makes no effort to inform himself before one of his drunken rants.

Yep, Hosking is a toxic little twerp who hates Labour so screw him.

Typical ugliness in politics and media.

Similar on Reddit: Toni Street and Mike Hosking stepping down from Seven Sharp after four years co-hosting show

🎶 It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas 🎶

It’s the most wonderful time.. Of the yearrr

Now Mike can finally follow his dream of becoming a National MP! /s (god forbid)

Stepping down? They couldn’t possibly get any lower.

Four years too late.

Leighton gone, hosking on the way out, now we just need matthew hooten to join gloria vale and life will be so serene

now we just need Mark Richardson to contract some sort of disease that silences him

National gone. Hosking out. It’s like the country is waking from a boomer-centric lapel tweaking nightmare.

Whenever I had the misfortune of seeing these clowns on TV I always felt sorry for Toni. If I had seen her in isolation I would have just dismissed her as the vapid bint that she is. Mike has a powerful effect.

There is so much good news this week in terms of NZ becoming a progressive country again Im struggling to know where to look! I wish them both well in their personal lives and Toni in her future endeavours….but Hosking you are a selfish, biased and regressive prick who has no place in public broadcasting…please piss off from NZ media forever you are not needed in this country.

The intolerance, immaturity and toxicity prevalent on many online forums is something that will likely continue.

It’s a shame but we seem to live in an increasingly childish, trivialised and abusive society.

An online opportunity for more free speech serves to highlight, time and time again, the ugly side of human communication.

 

Golriz Ghahraman, hate and discrimination

There is a feature article at The Wireless new Green MP Golriz Ghahraman (“the first MP to have entered New Zealand as a refugee”) by Meg Williams, who is disclosed as “has a strong connection to the Green Party as Young Greens Co-Convener, and has been a member of the party for the last three years”. It could be seen to an extent as a party promotional piece.

The headline makes strong assertions: Golriz Ghahraman on discrimination, hate, and white dudes on Twitter

To me ‘hate’ is a strong word and is overused a lot. It’s common for people to use it for dislike and disagree.

“I got such a broad spectrum of attacks. They were sort of ranging from race hate to muslim hate to immigration hate, women, young women, women that look a certain way…”

Did anyone on Twitter hate Golriz? Was it clear they hated her for being a Muslim? Possibly, there is quite a bit of prejudice about Muslims.

Was it clear they hate immigrants? Possibly, there has been a lot of anti-immigration feelings stoked in the election campaign, with Winston Peters playing the anti-immigrant card quite a bit – he’s the leader of the party who Golriz’s Greens are supporting to form a new government.

I’m a lot more dubious about hate on “women, young women, women that look a certain way…” – there’s a tendency for people to make ill-founded presumptions when they are criticised and politically attacked.

The headline includes ‘white dudes on Twitter’ alongside hate and discrimination.  The reference to white dudes is here:

Ghahraman laughs in disbelief as she tells the story of a political commentator who questioned her intelligence on Twitter. Realising he had perhaps gone too far, and that his behaviour warranted an apology, the commentator decided to send a private apology to Ghahraman’s partner, comedian Guy Williams, instead of apologising to her.

A private apology, made public to make a point. Golriz will need to be more careful with private communications now she is an MP.

“How embarrassing is that?” she says, her hands held up to the sides of her face with second-hand shame. “Every time I say it I feel so embarrassed for this dude… he said in that message, ‘I just don’t want you to think I’m another one of those white guys who just hates Golriz.’ But he didn’t apologise to me, like I wasn’t human enough for him to apologise to.”

“Wasn’t human enough”? Perhaps that’s how people who are subjected to racial and religious discrimination feel. That’s sad.

There may have been a simpler explanation – the ‘commentator’ may have known Williams, they must at least have cross-liked each other to be able to send private messages, and he may not have been able to private Golriz.

If he questioned her intelligence publicly on Twitter he should have apologised publicly on Twitter. Perhaps he did, but that isn’t mentioned.

But there’s a bigger issue here – the claims of hate and discrimination directed against Golriz (fair enough) while targeting ‘white dudes’. That is also discrimination.

You won’t fight discrimination with counter discrimination.

You can call out individual attacks and individual examples of discrimination, but implicating a whole racial or gender group is discriminatory.

I often see attacks on white males on Twitter and elsewhere in social media.

I’m a white male, and I’ve been attacked quite nastily on Twitter, and elsewhere. Some of those attacks are from younger people, some from females, some from people with different religious views, some possibly from immigrants.

And I’ll point out that Green supporters are amongst those who have attacked me on political grounds, it’s not uncommon for some of them to get nasty and personal when they disagree on political or party or ideological topics.

Is any of it hateful? That’s hard to judge, it’s common for people to overstate emotions online, and it’s common for people to e-abuse others when they wouldn’t do it face to face. This is a major issue with the Internet.

Golriz talked of having her intelligence questioned on Twitter. A couple of weeks ago a Green supporter tweeted to me “Shit your arrogance is quite astounding. Your ignorance is also shining through”.

Petty attacks can be confused with hate and discrimination. An accumulation of petty attacks can constitute discrimination.

Attacks in social media fly in all directions. They can be hurtful, they can be damaging to individuals.

And they are not confined to females, or to young people, or to Muslims, or to immigrants, or to Green candidates or MPs.

Hateful speech and discrimination are sadly very common in New Zealand political and social forums.

They should be confronted and criticised. Good people have to speak up.

But care needs be taken not to try to fight discrimination with counter discrimination, as that’s more likely to antagonise and inflame than to fix anything.

Golriz says “And I can’t shed my skin”. Neither can I.

It’s going to be tough for Golriz now she is an MP and will be the focus of a lot of attention. Some of that attention won’t be nice – there will be discrimination, and there may be justified perceptions of hate.

But hating on others, and discriminating against different groups of people, are not solutions.

I hope this is something Golriz will learn.

Trump: standing up to hate and intolerance

Doing what a president needs to do – speaking against hate and intolerance, and against violence.

Politico: Trump in tweet: Portland attack ‘unacceptable’

President Donald Trump on Monday morning condemned the attacks in Portland, Oregon, where two people were killed after trying to intervene as a man delivered an anti-Muslim rant directed at two women on a train.

The tweet was sent after Trump arrived to give remarks at the Arlington National Cemetery for Memorial Day.

On Saturday, three men were allegedly attacked after they tried to stop a suspect, Jeremy Joseph Christian, from verbally disparaging the women, one of whom was wearing a hijab.

 

ODT: Time for compassion

From ODT’s editorial Time for compassion

Attacking a section of society because of the actions of one person is wrong.

To do so threatens the very fabric of the values New Zealanders hold dear, too.

Innocent people died in Martin Pl.

Their families, friends, workmates – and many others, too – will be left grieving for months and years to come.

This event saw tragically lives cut short by the actions of one person. Generating hate is not a fitting memorial to their deaths.

Providing support and compassion in times of need would, however, give their shortened lives meaning.

Less hate, more compassion. Important, especially at times like this.

Berners-Lee on staggering hate on the web

Tim Berners-Lee played a major role in establishing the Internet as we now know it. He has expressed dismay at how hateful some people are in their use of the world wide web. I feel a bit the same way.

The Guardian reports in Tim Berners-Lee: hateful people on the web are ‘staggering’:

Speaking to BBC News, Berners-Lee said that it was “staggering” that people “who clearly must have been brought up like anybody else will suddenly become very polarised in their opinions, will suddenly become very hateful rather than very loving.”

I don’t expect people to be “loving” on political blogs but the degree of apparent hate and open nastiness does stagger me.

The Internet seems to bring out the worst of some people, and this is sadly prevalent in politics in social media.

Nastiness is all to common at blogger level and commenter level. At times it is flaunted.

Two of New Zealand’s most prominent blogs promote their nastiness, with Cameron Slater (Whale Oil) and Lyn Prentice (The Standard) often boasting about and promoting their nastiness.

That’s a very sad look for the New Zealand political blogosphere and it sets a very poor example which is followed by others.

Our political leaders should set good examples. We would be far better served by or political social media if they led by good example and cut the hatefulness.

There will always be political polarisation (most pronounced amongst a small minority of activists) but it serves us very poorly.

TV3, ACT, and make believe news

On the night of the ACT Party conference 3 News ran an item by Brook Sabin highlighting Rodney Hide talking about hate, the poor, Maori, and unions.

They think you must have horns, and hate the poor, and hate the Maori, and hate the unions – well, that’s true.

My initial reaction was surprise that Hide would say that, and the conference MC Jim Hopkins was obviously also surprised, as he asked Hide if he would revisit his comments.

3 News showed Hide saying “No!” and then cut. But that wasn’t the whole story.

There were subsequent blog discussions (I saw them at Kiwiblog and The Standard), some condemning Hide based on the 3 News item, some defending him.

Ex ACT MP David Garrett was a vigorous defender, he had attended the conference and witnessed all of Hide’s whole speech and the follow-up to Hopkins’ invitation to revisit. Garrett has since reiterated his opinion:

I knew – as did Hopkins – as soon as the quip didn’t go right that that is what would be the soundbite on the the News…as it was. Hopkins invited Rodney back to “have another go at it”..Rodney did so, in considerably more detail, about the media generated perceptions of ACT. None of that of course made the news.

This raised questions and I became further suspicious when I saw that no other

I have also talked in person to John Boscawen and others from ACT who attended the conference who were disappointed with the 3 News item.

I advised 3 News chief political reporter Patrick Gower of Garrett’s version and asked:

Is there any longer recorded versions of what Hide said (before and after what was shown) and after Hide’s “No” to Hopkins asking if he would revisit it?

Can you add anything to your side of the story?

I haven’t had a response yet.

I also asked Rodney Hide to explain what he meant and what actually happened. He has responded:

I spoke off-the-cuff and don’t have a verbatim memory of the context but I do of the controversial sentence because my friend Jim Hopkins who was MC drew my attention to how it could get misconstrued as “gold” by the news media.

The context was how ACT and ACT people get misrepresented in the media.  And I gave examples.

The specific sentence was how we are supposed to hate all these groups which I listed — poor people, maori, unions, I then paused for dramatic effect, and said something to the effect well it was true that we disliked unions and gave the example of the practices of the teacher unions.

I described in particular how teacher unions were holding back maori and poor people. Anyone familiar with my history and recent columns would know that has long been a theme of mine.

After my speech. Jim Hopkins said that the specific sentence could be misconstrued and would I clarify which I immediately did.

I took some time and care in doing so.

Either then — or in the speech — I also gave the specific example of some years back a drunken print journalist and subsequent TV3 political editor accosting me at a party as to why ACT hated Maori so much.

I was nonplussed.  I asked how they could ever think such a thing.  They said because ACT didn’t want Maori Doctors.  I said I wasn’t aware of anyone in ACT making such a statement. 

They then explained ACT is against a Maori quota for medical school.  I hadn’t realised until then that anyone could be so stupid — or indeed so racist — as to think that the only way Maori could succeed was through quotas and that the ACT party in calling for one law for all could be concluded by the news media as not wanting Maori doctors. 

I gave examples where that hadn’t been necessary and pointed out that Sir Peter Tapsell was an ACT supporter! 

I explained that ACT felt the problem was one of lifting educational attainment, rather than dropping the entry bar for ethnicity.  That was all back in about 1997 and was all to little effect.

I explained all that to the audience to give an indication for how tough it is For John Banks with the media in this country.

I didn’t want to be reported because I knew John Banks was to speak in the afternoon.  I prefer now to stay out of the media.   I clearly failed in that because my words could be used to make the exact opposite point to the one that I was making about ACT but precisely the point I was making about the news media.

This all directly contradicts the news item as shown on 3 News, which was also very negative about ACT’s chances of surviving – their online report is titled Act Party struggles to avoid political oblivion. It focussed on Hide’s comments (seemingly misleadingly edited) and made weird references to livestock and artworks.

Hide is no longer an active participant in ACT’s operation or it’s rebuildingt. Over halfway through the item John Banks was given some coverage, but it did not show ACT’s chief rebuilder John Boscawen at all.

Sabin closed the item with:

…today it was hard to tell what was real, and what was make believe.

That could describe Sabin’s news item.

I would be surprised (and very concerned) if this was a deliberate attempt to misrepresent what Hide said.

My guess is that Sabin took his own meaning and built a story around it, something that is common in media coverage. In this case Sabin seems to have been totally wrong.

This  deserves an explanation from Sabin and/or 3 News, or at least an acknowledgment that in this item they got it totally wrong.

Otherwise it leaves me wondering what news we should believe.

Schools teaching kids to hate?

I’ll get this out of the way first, plenty has been said about the monumental stuff-up made by Hekia Parata and National on Intermediate school class sizes. The one up-side is that it may guarantee that National don’t dare dabble in the class size policy area again.

But…

Duncan Garner blogs on this:

I got home last night and my 12-year-old step daughter was waiting for me with a stern message: “We all hate John Key,” she exclaimed.

Why, I said – pretending to be shocked by it all, but secretly knowing what she was about to say.

“Well, he’s going to close our cooking and technology classes at our school. So we all hate him. And we’re writing him letters – no one likes him at our school anymore,” she said.

If children are being schooled to “hate” any politician it reflects very poorly on the teacher or teachers involved. If that’s what’s happened I think it’s disgraceful.
Garner wants to ask Parata a question:

I have one question for Ms Parata – a question she should have asked the officials when this move was going through the Cabinet process.

It goes like this; who are the losers and winners from this change?

I think he should ask that of his step daughter’s teacher too.
Kids seem to be being used as political fodder – by politicians and by teachers.