Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Crossing the line into idle bigotry

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  • Russell Brown,

    A very good essay for The Daily Beast by Shehrbano Taseer, whose father was killed this year by extremists:

    What the attack on Malala makes clear is that this is really a battle over education. A repressive mindset has been allowed to flourish in Pakistan because of the madrassa system set up by power-hungry clerics. It’s a deeply rooted indoctrination, and it sickens me to see ancient religious traditions undermined by a harsher form of religion barely a generation old. These madrassa, or religious schools headed by clerics, are the breeding ground of Islamic radicalism. The clerics don’t teach critical thinking. Instead, they disseminate hate. These clerics are raising merchants of hatred who believe in a very right-wing and radical Islam, to hail people like Osama bin Laden and Mumtaz Qadri as heroes. They train children how to use guns and bombs, and how not to live but to die.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17941 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    Malala was not, of course, shot by "the Muslims", but by members of a movement rooted as much in a patriarchal tribal culture as Islamist extremism.

    That distiction is probably a bit too subtle for Mr Cox. Also, it doesn't fit his narrative.

    Lower Grey Lynn • Since Jul 2009 • 782 posts Report Reply

  • Will de Cleene,

    Putting on my devil's advocate beanie, I believe Michael Cox meant well. He's a bit a WMFOCA, or White Male Feminist Of a Certain Age. My old man came from a similar neck of the woods, albeit a bit more twisted. Just ask Mr Slack about my old man's treatment of women. I think you'll agree then that Mr Cox is the more moderate libertine.

    Raumati • Since Jul 2011 • 100 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Hapless opinion pieces by silly old men are a price we pay for a free press

    The paper (which is probably being run by people that find this crap as puke inducing as I do) could just spike all the racist and bigoted articles as they appear.

    That they don't is significant - it's their *job* to scare us with the "other" - that can be Muslims, beneficiaries or gangs, but our rulers need some sort of flow of othering stories to keep people scared and compliant.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4209 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    a patriarchal tribal culture

    Encouraged at various times by the British and the Americans (why we have a Khyber Pass Rd), who found a culture where bribing the chiefs and mullahs with cash, guns and boys was a highly convenient way to forward their geopolitical goals.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4209 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    Just as big an issue is Cox’s absence of any declaration of interest. Covert bigots, in my view, are far more dangerous than overt bigots because they lend a veneer of respectability.

    He wouldn’t be out of place with the NZCPR crowd.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3897 posts Report Reply

  • Ana Simkiss,

    slightly o/t but for a really toxic media environment you can't beat the Daily Mail. Here is a very thorough explanation of why

    Freemans Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 113 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Hapless opinion pieces by silly old men are a price we pay for a free press, but there are times when it's not enough to ignore the fools.

    I wondered which thread I should post a note that Paul Henry's Aussie gigs been cancelled, I'm pretty sure this is it? So, that's at least one Kiwi John Key can claim has returned.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2185 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Paul Williams,

    I wondered which thread I should post a note that Paul Henry's Aussie gigs been cancelled, I'm pretty sure this is it? So, that's at least one Kiwi John Key can claim has returned.

    With the appointment of Don Brash yes-man Richard Long (the long-time Dom editor, not the newscaster) to the TVNZ board, it's quite plausible Paul Henry will be returning to our screens. Luckily, TV's are cheap right now, just in case you succumb to the temptation to smash up your existing one.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3897 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    That they don't is significant - it's their *job* to scare us with the "other"

    It generates traffic. That's why it's so, so easy to find offensive and inaccurate 'opinion' columns.

    He's a bit a WMFOCA, or White Male Feminist Of a Certain Age.

    Which is intersectionality was invented: so, basically, nobody gets to use feminism as an excuse to be racist. Or homophobic, or transphobic.

    Here is a very thorough explanation of why

    To slightly undermine my own credibility now, I would do All The Things to Martin Robbins.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4285 posts Report Reply

  • Sara Bee, in reply to DeepRed,

    I rarely watch TVNZ anyway...

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris,

    The Times should, in this instance, step up and take out its own rubbish.



    I disagree on the basis that I believe Cox falls short of inciting racial hatred, rather that he panders to a large slice of society who thinks and reasons as he does.

    Furthermore, I think it is a mistake to try to censor such ravings because the resulting disgruntlement amongst like-minded bigots does more harm to the fabric of society than allowing them to vent their intolerance. Give ’em enough rope I say!

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Giving them a megaphone is not the same as rope.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15715 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Will de Cleene,

    He's a bit a WMFOCA, or White Male Feminist Of a Certain Age.

    Golly, it must be all of thirty years ago that I was discussing male feminists with a gay acquaintance. Like, whether it was possible to be one, followed by how does one spot one? Very easily, I was told, with all the assurance of one who had intimate knowledge of such things: they braid their unshaven underarm hair in the manner of Boy George's then-current hairstyle.

    While I've retained that bit of potentially useful info, I've never had occasion to put it to practical use.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3291 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    The Times should, in this instance, step up and take out its own rubbish.

    The Times should do no such thing - its an opinion piece.

    You can answer it with opinions of your own.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    The Times should do no such thing – its an opinion piece.

    Which purports to present fact. The word "opinion" is not a magic incantation that fixes that. The Press Council has made it clear in decisions on drivel emitted by Paul Holmes and Michael Laws, that even opinion pieces should have regard to fact.

    More to the point, the Waikato Times has voluntarily made itself subject to the findings of the Press Council and enjoys a certain stature as a consequence. It doesn't get to pick and choose once it has signed up.

    If this does get to the Press Council, the worst that can happen is that the Times would be required, in line with the commitment it has chosen to make, to publish the council's decision.

    The part of Anjum's request I have mixed feelings about is that the column be removed from the website. I'm generally keener on annotating such tosh with links to a rebuttal, but that's between Anjum and the editor for the time being.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17941 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    Which purports to present fact. The word "opinion" is not a magic incantation that fixes that. The Press Council has made it clear in decisions on drivel emitted by Paul Holmes and Michael Laws, that even opinion pieces should have regard to fact.

    There is a way to present all kinds of drivel as essential fact, it is called religion.

    Critiquing abhorrent actions of people who profess to be carrying out a religious duty is hard. Those who carried out the action have done so as if it was divine will. Those who deplore the attack say it is plainly against the divine will.

    To make a factual statement regarding the intent of a committed religious grouping is hard. You have to know the divine will. And that tends to be difficult.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Adam Gifford, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Taseer's explanation of the rise of madrassa - are these not charter schools?

    Auckland • Since May 2011 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Scott Chris,

    I disagree on the basis that I believe Cox falls short of inciting racial hatred, rather that he panders to a large slice of society who thinks and reasons as he does.

    It's not so much racism as it is neo-crusaderist 'civilisationism'. Those infamous NYC subway posters by Pamela Geller come to mind.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3897 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris, in reply to Sacha,

    Giving them a megaphone is not the same as rope.

    Hmm, dunno about that. For instance, the ‘Truth’ megaphone Cameron Slater’s currently blurting out of may well be his undoing.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris, in reply to DeepRed,

    It’s not so much racism as it is neo-crusaderist ‘civilisationism’.

    Yeah but it only operates at the margins of society, and that’s where it will stay if we don’t suppress it with censorship. Much better to satirize their folly. Same goes for the rabid Pat Condels and Chris Hitchens of this world imo. (though much harder to satirize, especially the latter)

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Scott Chris,

    A stifled whisper or ten do not counteract a bully armed with an amplifier. There is no level playing field or 'free market' for denigratory speech. Accountability does not magically happen.

    A rope requires someone else to tie the other end. But I'd prefer someone was handing out more megaphones.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15715 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Scott Chris,

    Yeah but it only operates at the margins of society

    By which you mean, on the op-ed page of a major daily newspaper?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17941 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris, in reply to Sacha,

    But I’d prefer someone was handing out more megaphones.

    Go Harvey Norman, Go!

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris, in reply to Russell Brown,

    By which you mean, on the op-ed page of a major daily newspaper?

    Perhaps it is the duty of the journalistic community to marginalize his views with rational rebuttal. Isn't that what you're doing?

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

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