Posts by Lucy Telfar Barnard

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  • Legal Beagle: Think it possible that you…, in reply to A O,

    neither stated that they condone rape or the actions of rapists.

    I don’t think you understand what victim-blaming is.

    They didn’t say “we condone rape and the actions of rapists”. They said [things that mean they condone rape and the actions of rapists].

    You can’t blame rape victims for their rape without saying that it’s [at least partly] their fault. If it’s [at least partly] their fault, it’s not all the rapists fault. If it’s not all the rapists fault, then it’s not always the rapist’s fault. If it’s not always the rapist’s fault, there are some situations in which rape is acceptable. If you believe there are some situations in which rape is acceptable, then you condone rape.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 227 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Think it possible that you…,

    The other problem I have with Graeme's argument is this:

    Let's imagine an alternative history in which I didn't write to Countdown and say "I will not be shopping with you as long as you continue to advertise on JT and Willie's show". Let's assume lots of other people didn't do variations on the same thing. Let's assume Gio didn't write so eloquently to the whole lot of them.

    Let's imagine we did as Graeme suggested: we rang RadioLive endlessly, to tell them how offensive what they did to Amy was, how wrong and offensive their views on rape were.

    What would the outcome have been?

    I'm pretty confident that the outcomes would have been these:
    1. Wille and JT and whichever other callers would pretty soon have got bored of being told how revolting they were, over and over, and exercised their own editorial control over the callers, with combinations of the Hang Up button and "we've got to cut to some advertising right now, call again later."
    2. Possbly, those of us disgusted by their behaviour might have phoned in to RadioLive for the very first time, to continue using the only pressure Graeme would have us exercise, our own voices.
    3. Eventually, as Willie and JT either get bored and stop playing such callers, or decide it's a ratings winner and say even more offensive things in order to maintain the controversy, we get exhausted, as we already are, at having to try to shout or argue down men with more power and louder voices.
    4. RadioLive as a station notes that caller volumes have increased, listener numbers are up, therefore advertising revenue has also increased. They, and the advertisers, profit from Willie and JT's rape enabling. Perhaps they also give Willie and JT a payrise as a way of saying good job for increasing profits.

    At the end of the day, Willie and JT are no worse off. The message to rape enablers is: you can be as obnoxious about rape and rape victims as you like, without any adverse consequences. You might get a bunch of angry feminists yellling at you for a bit, but ha ha, that's what they do and nobody cares what a bunch of hairy-legged man-haters think anyway, ha ha ha, it's funny, let's bait them some more!

    The message to women who have been or will be sexually assaulted is "You can try to challenge the power of rapists and rape enablers, but they have more power than you, and nothing will happen to them."

    Or, another possible non-advertiser-boycott history:

    We stop listening to RadioLive in general, and Willie and JT in particular. Eventually, if the public maintain it long enough, the advertisers figure out that noone's listening. They move their advertising elsewhere. RadioLive say "sorry JT and Willie, noone's listening and you're losing us money, we're going to have to dump your show." Willie and JT and other rape enablers learn that enabling rape has consequences.

    In this second possible history, the final outcome is exactly the same as what's actually happened. The only difference is that the "advertiser boycott" is a whole lot less exhausting, and makes it happen a whole lot faster.

    There is of course another small difference between what actually happened and these possible alternatives. In the advertiser boycott version, I have power. I can email Countdown and threaten to withdraw my custom. I can feel I have a small part in ensuring that Willie and JT experience adverse consequences for enabling rape. As someone who has experienced sexual assault, I find this empowering.

    In the possible alternatives, I have no power. In the first scenario, when I phone RadioLlive for the umpteenth time, and it makes no difference, I am disempowered. In the second scenario, I can't stop listening to RadioLive, because I never listened to them in the first place, so I have no power to do anything. The realisation I have no power is also disempowering.

    Yes, there is some danger in that. All power corrupts, and all that. That's a risk I'm prepared to take.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 227 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Think it possible that you…, in reply to ,

    Deleted, in order to Not Feed the Troll.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 227 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Think it possible that you…,

    OK, it took me a while, but I think I get what you're saying Graeme.

    I don't think you're saying that JT and Willie getting taken off air was a breach of their freedom of speech (since as all good lawyers know, the right to freedom of speech is a right against State persecution, not against private consequences). I think you're saying only that if I push for them to experience private consequences because I don't like what they've said/done, then I should be prepared for the possibility that some other programming I enjoy but others don't could get taken off air because those others threaten to boycott advertisers.

    Fine. I accept that possibility. And in fact, how I wish I had a whole lot more of that power. How I wish that a small group of people phoning Bunnings or, I don't know, Vodafone and threatening to boycott them would have the effect of ensuring that The Block and NZ's Got X-Voice never blighted our screens again. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be enough to just irritate me to get something off-air.

    A programme apparently has to offend an enormous number of people at a very fundamental level before there are actually consequences.

    If the balance one day starts to tip too far towards "one person rang in and said this programme made them mildly uncomfortable, so we're taking it off air", then fine, time to start pushing back, but it's not even close.

    You can argue that it's a slippery slope, but I don't think it is. Maybe it's the top step of a sets of stairs, and at the bottom is the world where I don't get to watch 7 Days or South Park. But I don't see any sign we're rushing madly down the staircase. In fact, from where I'm looking, a lot of the stairs in between seem to be... missing.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 227 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Housing: the Feudal Model, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    My understanding of the Auckland market is that we have a housing “affordability” crisis but not an “availability” crisis.

    In Auckland rental listings are at an all time seasonal high at the moment with rental prices fairly static while house prices skyrocket.

    Auckland has both an affordability and an availability crisis, if you include "suitability" under "availability".

    i.e. If you're a family of 5, it doesn't help you if there's a huge glut of 2 bedroom rental properties available, because depending on the ages and sexes of your children, you need a 3 to 4 bedroom house to avoid being classified as crowded. The larger your family, the harder it is to find suitable housing, even for the few who can afford market rates. In the same way, if you're a single or couple who'd like to not have flatmate(s), a glut of 2+ bedroom properties is no use to you.

    Possibly also under "suitability", or alternatively a different problem of looking at "Auckland" as a single housing market, there's the question of location. If you're that family of five, it's not much help to you if there's a whole lot of 3 to 4 bedroom houses available to rent in Glen Eden or Glenfield, but your work, childcare, schools, and friend and family support are all based around Glen Innes and Glendowie.

    So a seasonal high in rental availability doesn't necessarily translate to there not being an availability problem. It can also mean that the rentals available don't match the needs of the people who want to rent.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 227 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Housing: the Feudal Model,

    Thing is though that of course “without cause” evictions do have a cause. The landlord may be planning to sell the house and wants to be able to list and sell it with vacant posession; the landlord may want to do substantial work on the house to upgrade it. Both of these could be added to the RTA as acceptable reasons to terminate a tenancy, so they’re less of an issue.

    However, my assessment is that the more common reason for giving out 90 day notices is that for one reason or another the landlord finds the tenant a pain in the arse and doesn’t want the hassle of having to deal with them, and/or the tenant is doing things they’re not allowed to do under their tenancy agreement but which 14-day notices weren’t really designed to fix (e.g. keeping pets or smoking); or the tenant, while not actually behind in their rent, pays erratically and irregularly. Certainly some of these evictions should be prevented, but there would need to be some extra provisions to solve the pet and smoking and related problems.

    Also, I haven’t seen much evidence that the 42 days notice provisions are abused by landlords. Yes, at present it’s just a civil wrong to say you’re moving family in and then not, but I’ve seen bugger all Tenancy Tribunal cases against former landlords who said they were moving family in and then didn’t. I’m not clear on how making it a criminal offence would solve a problem that doesn’t appear to be widespread anyway.

    To me the substantial problems with the RTA and the TT process have much more to do with how poorly they protect tenants’ right to decent housing. There’s an excellent new paper at http://paperwalls.org/ detailing the steps tenants can take to have their home brought up to standard, but reading through it you can’t help feeling that their hypothetical tenant, “Mele”, would be excused for having a full nervous breakdown by the time she’d actually got her house sorted.

    In broader terms, though, I think the two big problems are,
    1. As Mark Graham identified above, there is a fundamental market failure happening: what new housing is being built is not the housing that’s most needed; and
    2. There is a fundamental miss-match between New Zealander’s continuing aspiration to live in low-density housing but close to their places of work/school/play; and our national need to prevent urban sprawl/increase urban density. It’s a problem that can only be solved through culture change, and that takes time.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 227 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Narcissists and bullies, in reply to Kirk Alexander,

    Not helpful at all.

    Besides which, what happens when, on that awesome night out the chick's having in the video, she's had so much to drink (including non-alcoholics of course) she needs to pee in a hurry, and she's dashing to the loo thinking "crap, was the combination quarter past four or quarter TO four?!"...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 227 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Narcissists and bullies,

    Absolutely right TracyMac. I think of all the women and men I've spoken to over the years who've experienced sexual assault of one kind or another, and the different harms they've taken from it, and severity or longevity of harm doesn't necessarily equate with the "severity" of the assault.

    The other problem with Victim Olympics is that it sets a common trap for the assaulted: a risk that we will try to discount our own harm on the basis that "it could have been worse, at least I wasn't [insert "worse" scenario here]." e.g. "Well, I was molested, but it could have been worse, at least I wasn't raped", or "Well, I was raped, but it could have been worse, at least I wasn't beaten", or "at least I didn't get an STD", or "at least he didn't drug me", or even just "at least I'm still alive", and all the other ways we try to minimise what happened to us. Yes, objectively some of these statements are probably true. Being dead would be worse. But the statements create a dichotomy of "not so bad" (what happened to us" vs "terrible" (what could have happened) and thus imply that what happened to us isn't also terrible.

    Victim Olympics also focus on what did and didn't happen, rather than how we feel about what happened, but it's the latter we take with us from day to day.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 227 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Narcissists and bullies,

    Diane does an excellent job of explaining the importance of remembering that sex offenders are not monsters. It’s something I forget from time to time, but I’ve found useful for explaining part of why people who’ve been sexually assaulted can find it hard to be believed.

    When people envisage sex offenders as evil monsters, they expect someone accused of a sex offence to be and look like an evil monster, and for that evil monster to be all they are, with no redeeming features. If they know and like the accused, the accused can’t possibly have perpetrated a sex offence, because the accused has been a friend to them, and evil monsters can’t be friendly.

    So I talk about that aspect of the sex offender's person as a fatal flaw. It is terrible, but it is not all they are. We don’t turn other criminal flaws into demons, and nor should we with the ability/proclivity to perpetrate sexual offences.

    However, that doesn’t change my earlier objection to the offenders in this case attempting to have the media present them as the victims. They may be victims in some way or another, but not in the ways those news stories spin it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 227 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Narcissists and bullies,

    Fagan's apology was delightful. I particularly enjoyed the bit where Karyn Hay made him get out in the rain and walk, though mostly for what that action says about Karyn rather than what the apology says about Fagan.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 227 posts Report Reply

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