Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: In Committee

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    The latter is perfectly polite and accidentally gives me the perfect opening to talk about the social and institutional ways civil unions are treated as second-class. Cheers, dude, that was awesome.

    Yeah, I fucking hope so. I wasn’t the only person who politely suggested to National’s senior whip Michael Woodhouse that Bakshi be told to either pull his head or get subbed off the committee after this performance.

    Still, thanks for fronting up, Emma. I’m still perfectly OK with my decision to withdraw my request to speak to my submission because I’d still have told someone to take their heterosexist privilege and fuck themselves in a procreative and traditional manner. I’m too old to put up with this bullshit.

    And, no, I can't laugh at Church Dude's crap after being told I was only welcome at my grandmother's funeral if I came by myself. That wasn't funny - it was profoundly abusive.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I just left during Ms Gay Agenda; couldn't hack it.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1376 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4355 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Great stuff, Emma, No delicate flowers of 18 year old Catholic girls being mistreated by the committee today, then?

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2318 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I’m still perfectly OK with my decision to withdraw my request to speak to my submission because I’d still have told someone to take their heterosexist privilege and fuck themselves in a procreative and traditional manner.

    It was easier to cope with the nastier stuff because we were surrounded by supportive people. Everyone sat round in the cafe afterwards and just took the piss for a while. Also, Twitter. If I was tweeting it, I wasn't internalising it so much, and people were engaging with me and making jokes and it just made the whole thing so much easier.

    I just left during Ms Gay Agenda; couldn’t hack it.

    I do not blame you, she was ghastly. It's hard to get across to people sometimes how much more offensive that smiling gentle bigotry can be.

    I should note a couple of things, which I meant to do straight after I put the column up. And should have, because the first was, yay, I was not the only PASer submitting: Keir did so too.

    Second, Tony Milne (@TonyRMilne) also live-tweeted the hearings, and he was there for the first hour, which I missed for obvious "it being the first hour" reasons.

    Third, I've decided, on balance, not to talk about a number of the things Kevin Hague told me afterwards. I'm not sure how much of it is okay to discuss. So if you want to hear all of it, come down and buy me a drink. Otherwise, I have Reasons to be Cheerful.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    Great stuff, Emma, No delicate flowers of 18 year old Catholic girls being mistreated by the committee today, then?

    The only people who got the Hard Word put on them richly deserved it, and it came from the Chair. Hague is a lovely man. My partner basically apologised to him on behalf of the universe for having to listen to all that bollocks.

    I wasn’t the only person who politely suggested to National’s senior whip Michael Woodhouse that Bakshi be told to either pull his head or get subbed off the committee after this performance.

    I would not be at all surprised if somebody had had a quiet word in his ear. His demeanor was very different from what I'd seen in those Wellington hearings.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to DeepRed,

    "The heavy air was charged with emotion and I am still astounded that I managed to walk towards that table and chair despite apprehension and feeling sick at heart at my different treatment and the apparent hostility," she said.

    Well, Grace, welcome to the world a metric fuckton of GLBT people and their families live in every damn time they're casually equated to child molesters and animal-fuckers. I'd be the first to call Hague out if he was bullying anti-marriage equality submitters, but I'm not seeing it here.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Can I just say that Ruth (and the whole committee) was amazingly even handed? I've seen (and submitted to) hostile Select Committees, and this was not one of them.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1376 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Emma Hart,

    It's hard to get across to people sometimes how much more offensive that smiling gentle bigotry can be.

    Possibly because it's a tactic that is very often aimed at women (although it comes from both genders): it aims to render your argument invalid by virtue of your caring, without even having to accuse anyone of hysteria directly. The speaker, after all, is so nice and reasonable and couldn't be bigoted because they're not angry at you or being mean, they're just explaining.

    I'd rather be yelled at.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    I’d rather be yelled at.

    As Michael Kinsey once said of the first President Bush: "He’s nice enough not to want to be associated with a nasty remark but not nice enough not to make it. Lacking the courage of one’s nastiness does not make one nice.."

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    And you thought Woodhouse would do something? - as my National MP he sent me a curt weaselly response to my letter to him on the issue, and of course voted against the bill ....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2176 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Lacking the courage of one’s nastiness does not make one nice.

    I think that's a great summary, as well as a good response to make on the spot.

    I do find that summarising someone's remarks back to them can be a useful way to point out the problem. The usual response is "no, no, that's hateful, that's not what I said"... "well no, I don't disagree with the content of the summary, but I don't like the tone". Which is when I break out the nasty. The refine, polite nasty, but the nasty all the same.

    I am so grateful that there are polite and reasonable people pushing this on my behalf. The days when I could just suck up the awful seem to have gone, these days I find that I get really stressed and unhappy dealing with it. Must be time to send a thank you card to Kevin, I think.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 491 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    The fabulous Captain Awkward suggests this tactic for when someone politely says something offensive or overly personal to you.

    Say nothing. Just stare at them in obvious shock. Give it time to sink in. Then say, "Wow. Awkward." Options after this are to respond, highlighting rather than mitigating the awkwardness, to change the subject, or to sort of shudder and then walk away.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    And you thought Woodhouse would do something? – as my National MP he sent me a curt weaselly response to my letter to him on the issue, and of course voted against the bill ….

    The point was not that Woodhouse should do something because the behaviour was offensive to submitters. It was that he should do something because Bakshi's behaviour was embarrassing his party.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    And you thought Woodhouse would do something?

    Well, yes. Part of the chief whip's job is to actually enforce discipline and decorum both in the House and from members on Select Committees. Ideally, I would have liked Bakshi subbed out of the committee full stop and period. But I’m reliably informed he was told clearly and firmly to pull his head in; not just by the chief whip but by one or two folks in the party hierarchy who will have a non-trivial influence on his list ranking, As a practical matter, I can live with that.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Kevin Hague came down and spoke to us in the cafe afterwards

    Ah ha! He's the guy who runs the Gays isn't he?! I knew it...

    Also, that mistreated 18y/o is apparently "a Catholic design student from Wellington". They're designing Catholics now? Intelligently I hope.

    (Am optimistic about your optimism...)

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1721 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Gareth Ward,

    Ah ha! He’s the guy who runs the Gays isn’t he?! I knew it…

    So we chatted away for five or ten minutes, and then my partner said, "Do you know him?" And when I said no, we'd never actually met before, he said, "I just wondered, because he kept saying 'we'."

    Um. Yeah. Pay no attention to that...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Emma Hart,

    My partner basically apologised to him on behalf of the universe for having to listen to all that bollocks.

    Much as I loathe politicians in general they really do have to put up with some awful crap.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3420 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Bakshi’s behaviour was embarrassing his party

    Snort, we are talking about a political party being ... embarrassed??????

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3420 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Snort, we are talking about a political party being ... embarrassed??????

    Anthropomorphicistically speaking, yes.

    Although picturing the National Party as a person does make my head hurt, I admit. Especially trying to think of it as the sort of person who could be embarrassed.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 491 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Hague is a lovely man

    And he will be a wonderful Minister of Health (or other portfolios).

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16772 posts Report Reply

  • Alison Kagen,

    Great reporting, thanks.

    This has reminded me of making submissions on the Homosexual Law Reform Bill: the mix of ghastliness & random amusement & dealing with the "smiling gentle bigotry". And the importance of being with like-minded people, whether or not they are speaking to submissions.

    The part that was amusing, at the time, was during an "anti" submitter's time, where he had apparently (we didn't get to see his submission, although there was some whispered discussion among us, wondering if we could get a copy, to check if we could learn anything) listed "homosexual practices". It was, apparently, quite a long list. Lianne Dalziel, on the committee, questioned him, "This is just a list of sexual practices, isn't it?".

    Later, that was a lot less amusing, because the polite, smiling, firmly confident, anti-law reform church leader was Graham Capill.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Alison Kagen,

    This has reminded me of making submissions on the Homosexual Law Reform Bill

    Hey, Alison. Kevin Hague mentioned he'd read through the submissions from Homosexual Law Reform, and it certainly brought home to him how much less vitriolic things are this time around. I find it "hilarious" the way people who were opposed to decriminalisation and opposed to civil unions are now in favour.

    If anyone is interested, Margaret Mayman (@mmayman) is live-tweeting today's Wellington hearings.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Roger,

    Well done Emma!!

    Auckland • Since Jun 2007 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    I just remembered... Does Garth McVicar believe that oral-genital intimacy is an obstruction to inter-state commerce?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4355 posts Report Reply

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