What a year, folks. Here’s how it looked in my little corner of the internet, with the ten most-read posts of 2015.
Not only was his “apology” a litany of excuses. Not only was he almost immediately granted “a second chance”. He now, unapologetically, deliberately, defiantly encourages people to joke about violence, including domestic violence against women. He is an active creator of toxic masculinity.
Note: the Kim Hill quote was originally attributed to Chris Finlayson; it was actually Nick Smith. What can I say, all white men look alike to me.
The chief reason not to give even the slightest benefit of the doubt to WhaleOil is because nothing published there has any weight. It’s nonsensical and self-contradicting, and while I should really just not be writing this post and giving them oxygen, it may be helpful to have one canonical example of this as a warning to the next ten generations.
There are almost no details of the charges against Muliaina so far. But that hasn’t stopped people rushing to pre-judge the case.
And no, I don’t mean me and my merry band of evil Twitter feminists.
Note: Charges were ultimately dropped against Muliaina.
Another list entirely determined by merit. And sarcasm.
We want to separate the world into group A: Those Terrible Freaks Who Abuse People and group B: Normal People Who Don’t Do Bad Things. We categorise some crimes as “not that big a deal” when the person doing it can be slotted into group B; we categorise people as group A when their offending is unquestionably over the line.
And so we end up making armchair diagnoses of John Key’s sexual predilections and even accusing him of horrific acts of sexual violence rather than owning the truth. Men sexually harass women all the time. Customers objectify wait staff all the time. Sexism is all around us. It is not the province of “freaks” and “deviants” and “those kinds of people”.
The thing is, these incidents are always presented in isolation. One guy gets criticised because he used “chicks” to refer to “women” and suddenly the accusations are flying: you’re overreacting! You’re taking this too seriously! It’s just one word!
Sadly, I expect this will be like so many stories of its kind: a one- or two-day wonder in the media, breathless headlines about “what the waitress said about the PM”, and then we’ll all move on.
It wasn’t a two-day story, but if recent news is anything to go by, it didn’t change much, which is a tremendous shame.
The assumption is that the “I’m in between Labour and National” group are making an academic assessment of their place on the political spectrum and the comparative left-wing-ness and right-wing-ness of Labour and National. The conclusion is that there’s some policy-related “ground” in between the two parties which can be “claimed”.
But “in between Labour and National” isn’t a fixed point on a map. “Labour” and “National” aren’t even fixed points on a map.
It’s a mug’s game to redefine anything short of the National Front or Socialist Aotearoa as “centrist” given the right circumstances, and declare victory. It’s easy to talk about “being relevant to more people” or “perception is reality” or being “data-driven”.
But the theory doesn’t work in practice. You know what the majority of New Zealanders were against back in 2011? Asset sales. How did Labour try to appeal to them in 2011? Campaign against asset sales. Result?
So there we have it, folks. 2015 at Boots Theory.
A number of people are doing their predictions for the political stories of 2016. I’m going to be annoyingly vague and say that it’s going to be much the same as 2015, thematically, punctuated with utterly random explosions no one saw coming. A Michael Bay year, if you will: whatever happens, at turns predictable and entertaining.