Posts by mark taslov

  • Hard News: Media Take: Heavy topics,

    Thank you for taking the time to read Rob S and Sacha. My apologies for the vagueness of ‘Yoruba’ above, it was an afterthought that I hoped any one interested may follow up on but in the interests of clarity I feel it’s only right that the point I was attempting to make is expounded upon:

    The Yoruba case is a clear depiction of a society where power relations were traced through their age-grading culture. The Yoruba people are located mainly in southern Nigeria. Until missionaries and colonialism influenced the area, most of the Yoruba were genderless beings. Instead of having a culture that was divided through gender expectations and hierarchies, the Yoruba people used seniority as an organizing system. This system separated power relations by age and lineage, not gender (Oyěwùmí 1997). The only real gendered aspect of the Yoruba society concerned the different roles in pregnancy and arguably the beginning of marriage (“The Yoruba Family” 2013).

    When people married in Yoruba society, typically a female-sexed person would marry into a male-sexed person’s family. The newcomer, as the person would be referred to, would be ranked below all the members of the family she married in to. Although it seems like this person is now stuck on the bottom of an immovable power hierarchy, this was not the case. The newcomer has the ability to move throughout the power system by having children. By adding to the family lineage one would move up in seniority (Oyěwùmí 1997). This system not only allowed for people to fill many different roles (compared to western society in which people may only fill the roles allowed to their gender) but it also allows for all people to have access to power in all spheres.

    Further reading here.

    The Invention of Women: Making an African Sense of Western Gender Discourses

    With regards to the link “comparitively” in my initial post:

    Same-gender love can sometimes be difficult to differentiate in Classical Chinese because the pronouns he and she were written with the same character, like tā (他)

    To that I should add that this tā (他) was split into three tā: 他(he), 她(she), 它(it) in the early 20th century following the fall of the Qing Dynasty, however this distinction does not exist in the spoken language to this day.

    I might also add that my hand was pushed to post my initial 3 posts above due to an experience last week. As we attempted to separate the ram, the ewes stuck close, intent on protecting him within the flock. Apparently amused by this, the person helping me jokingly muttered “chicks”. Based ona couple of previous comments, I did not construe it to be a comparison to fowl but rather anthropomorphism: a derivation of his perception that women habitually and foolishly follow men around(?). Most importantly, what struck me is that a 60 y/o South African émigré who moved here as a youth and who has spent most of his life trotting the globe working as a professional mathematician – has been back in the country with his new wife less than a year and has found this kind of aside to still be acceptable social currency in 2016. I was too taken aback to challenge it.

    And finally, speaking of Social currency

    Jeremy Corbett: The following show is for adults only and contains bad language that may offend some people and there have been a lot of moves this week to ban all smoking on TV because when people see it on TV, it glamorises it making it cool and sexy, well we at 7Days have a plan to make sure that doesn’t happen [cut to shot of Paul Ego wearing a red bikini top]

    Paul Ego: [husky voice] What are you looking at? pervert. [flicks ash under bra, seductively pokes out tongue]


    Jeremy Corbett: That should do it.

    Because naturally, Paul Ego playing a transgender character, mocking those who may be attracted to the transgender character, is far more repugnant and therefore humorous to the NZ public than Paul Ego playing himself in that vein, nipples out.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1785 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: New Classical,

    Some old shit that was lying around.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1785 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: Heavy topics, in reply to mark taslov,

    How does this all tie together? Well, as I see it, the wider LBGTQAI community (having long been challenged by stereotypes) have helped society successfully challenge stereotypes, and our acceptance of this community has reduced violence and bigotry in our society. With regards to this sloganeering and stereotyping, it is most specifically the Q (Gender Queer/ Gender Fluid) and T (Transgender) and most naturally the I (intersex) who confound these gender stereotypes, and yet they are exactly who is most othered as we continue to frame societal woes as a binary battle of the sexes. We are your largely invisible brothers and sisters and things, you may call us “sir” or “dude” or “miss” based on superficialities, and it’s highly likely we may not even correct you given we have spent entire lives feeling and being mislabelled. Regardless, for the most part many will remain invisible – given that the SHCTP funds 3 MtF GRS’s every 2 years meaning that most of New Zealand’s transgender citizenry don’t have a shit show of ever qualifying for gender reassignment surgery unless they can conjure up a spare $7-24,000 – we are your neighbours, your workmates, your closeted and uncloseted spouses and that person you pass on the street. In saying that I don’t wish to perpetuate any misconception that being a transgender person is contingent on either having undergone invasive surgery or having been prescribed HRT – this is about identity first and foremost.

    Possessing, it would seem, the power to dilute this apparently insoluble gender binary solution, by virtue of being more visible, these otherwise unseen members of our community may very well assist in further dissolving the battle lines; a truer equality for all may become that wee bit more realisable. If nothing else our greater visibility may help curb our suicide rate.

    Obviously none of what I’m saying is much use to a those currently trapped in violent and intimidating relationships, it’s not going to provide equal pay or encourage basic humane respect, neither misogeny nor misandry will be stamped out in the forseeable future, but for accuracy’s sake we need to look deeper as a society and reflect on both what we can and what we perhaps might not yet be able to see and in turn adjust ourselves to act accordingly. Kyle is spot on when he says:

    As men, when we behave like this – or stand by while our friends, workmates, teammates behave like that – we are the problem.

    We all need to work to stamp out misogeny and misandry, but we also need to recognise that while these are related to and incorporated in family violence, misogney and misandry are not themelves indicitive of family violence, I have family members whose misogeny and misandry infuriates me but this is not necessarily a symptom of violence or vice versa, these are largely symptoms of ignorance to be challenged (which is often easier said that done), distinct from family violence – itself generally symptomatic of weak self-control and addiction (25% of the most severe intimate partner aggression incidents in New Zealand involved alcohol).

    As The Dunedin study has found, self-control is the greatest indicator of ‘success’ in life, and furthermore that self-control is something that can be both taught and developed. With an eye on the legislative environment few could argue that many of New Zealand’s most pressing social issues appear to be related to a self-control shortage. In addition, more focus on techniques that meaningfully empower us to defuse conflict successfully could also be incredibly useful – as a pragmatic backup.
    Looking forward, a considered reassessment of this gender stereotyping and conditioning so prevalent in our society must happen sooner or later in order for societies to find and enjoy greater peace; for society’s agressors to find peace and most importantly for society’s victims to find peace: peace being the purest antidote to violence.

    ETA – Kyle, I should add that I have always enjoyed your contributions here and both the wisdom and expertise you have conferred over a range of related issues, if you feel that my use of your piece as a springboard has resulted in an unfair portrayal of what you wrote; I apologise for singling you out, and I am aware that the argument you presented is quite widely held amongst the liberal class at this juncture.

    Obviously I can appreciate that a lot of people may not wish to read something like this, that it confronts what appears to be widely accepted norms and may contain numerous errors or miscategorisations. For my part it’s not something I myself am particularly enthused about writing either – invisibility becomes quite comfortable after a time. I’m at pains to admit that I’m not well versed in much of the jargon, but this is an alternative perspective that for whatever reason I’ve felt increasingly compelled to offer in response to the men vs women arguments that have occurred here in recent years which I’ve always missed my chance to contribute to due to those threads repeatedly being closed before I can get my head together.

    I’d like to add that I would never have had the confidence to write a comment like this had it not been for Russell’s wisdom, acceptance and patience with me over the years and Emma’s absolute frankness with regards to issues of a personal nature which has been of immeasurable inspiration in helping me reach a point of self-acceptance. So thank you so much to both of you, you’ve made an incredible difference in my life. I hope I’ve not overstepped my mark.


    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1785 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: Heavy topics, in reply to mark taslov,

    the most rational choice is for women to treat all men as dangerous.To treat all men as a threat, and all men as abusers.

    Again, while this might sound reasonable when taken as the musing of a caucasian man informing women how to feel and behave, when one considers it in the context of the publication and audience:

    The world's most glamorous showgirls just happen to be men.

    It's confounding, because it is apparent that this is a context still steeped in fundamentalist binarism, redolent of the gender essentialist environment that the New Zealand media by and large refuses to budge from.

    Tune in to Seven Sharp and you'll witness the stereotypes and snipes of this incessant gender war. Tune into Story and you'll witness exactly the same clichés playing out night after night. However if you tune into Shortland Street you'll see a teenager who fails to convincingly occupy the position of either male or female: an anomalous transgender person cast against the back drop of a user paid health system.

    We have X chromosomes, some of us have Ys, some of us have many Xs, some have other gender-binary confounding 'defects' or 'mutations', and these all occur quite naturally in the human race. Other gender anomalies may not be so obvious under a microscope, but what is clear is that there's a lot more going on here than male≠female.

    We have Xs on our passports but there's neary a transgender to be seen anywhere outside the main centres, which is odd considering that one effort to quantify the US population gave a "rough estimate" that 0.3 percent of American adults (1-in-300) are transgender. These dualistic stereotypes are a perpetuation of a patriachal design whereby men are the species, and women the subordinate, and that's all; a design where the battle lines were drawn for us at birth - where for all intents and purposes there can be no in-betweens, and we best conform. This conformity is especially apparent in the male kiwi who may become men - real men; who love their footy, don't wear gay pink shirts, and are hard as nails.

    Where Kyle assumes the lack of victimisation he has experienced is due to him being a Pakeha middle aged professional man who lives in a nice part of town. Others might point out that it could just as likely be due to the fact that he's a well built skin head who looks like he could handle himself, or perhaps as a psychologist he's better equipped than most to defuse situations.

    The fact remains that as with heterosexual relationships, approximately 1/3 of same sex relationships also devolve into violent relationships.

    Domestic violence is a male problem, and women are the victims.

    This is simply no longer applicable to society as a whole, it is selectively tailored to a segment of society, albeit the majority, but it others many people - furthermore it others/ deprioritises the issues they face.

    A clue as to possible alternative approaches to this issue is in the Headline for the series:


    Because families are seldom about men and women as much as they're defined by the children. If children are a foremost concern, which they should be, then what tangible benefit do our young boys derive from these kinds of generalisations beyond establishing and reinforcing stereotypes which would in part appear to be fueling the issue:

    "I am violent because I'm male therefore I'm violent."

    This stereotyping appears to ignore the basic conflict resolution principle whereby finding common ground will generally trump pointing out assumed differences, and I don't use the word 'assumed' lightly, given the invisibility of intersex et al. members of society and given the length of time it may takes some members in the transgender et al. community to identify/ transition.
    It also largely ignores gender related family violence issues - the girl who is abused for being too manly, the boy who is abused for not being manly enough - it perpetuates a cycle of ignorance.

    Should we be saying to our children:

    the most rational choice is for children to treat all adults as dangerous.To treat all adults as a threat, and all adults as abusers.

    Following this logic what is the most rational choice?

    A New Zealand review of all child homicides between 1991 and 2000 found that in cases where a child was killed by their parent - 54% of perpetrators were fathers, 40% were mothers, and 6% of cases involved both parents

    That's an alarmingly balanced spread, and yet our response to these types of issues is still one of barbarism, and binary fundamentalism: a response that introduces the death penalty by stealth is still advocating violence, I'm unclear how this applies to those in same-sex relationships or similarly overlooked circumstances.

    Our pronounced habit of legislating to undertake cultural attitude shifts appears to be based on a short-sighted overestimation of the reach of legislation administered by what global history has shown will ultimately be relatively fleeting regimes. I assume that this issue seems to be particularly evident in New Zealand given our propensity for the comparitively myopic historical perspectives that dominate our national discourse.

    The irony for me with regards to tolerance is that it is our children who are leading the way in accepting the unquantifiable X. In contrast we as adults have had discussions on these very boards whereby parents, good parents, educated parents, still labour under the assumption that their children are naturally CISgendered, deciding that they will therefore treat them accordingly in terms of singling out their male progeny to inform them that they might be potential rapists. [Thread is now closed].One hopes this prophecy is not self-fulfilling.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1785 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: Heavy topics, in reply to Deborah,

    The other thing that I thought could have been very useful was some serious statistical work, to examine the truth of the “she does it too” claim.

    I felt Kyle clarified the situation well on the show:

    "There's a lot of research being put into the idea that women are abusing at the same level as men and it's factually incorrect, when you look at the research what's actually happening is that's there's a lot of community surveys, ringing people up and asking about violence in relationships, and when you look at those results it's about 50/50, men and women reporting being victims of violence. That's quite a different thing from what people describe as battering or long term power and control oriented violence, and what we're seeing is that that's not shifting with the way that we're currently treating the problem"

    Further reading here.

    Having said that I find framing your query in this way to be somewhat problematic Deborah. While I can understand how #Notallmen can be construed as an "excuse" it's also - when taken at face value a factual rebuttal of generalisation, and in certain circumstances it may also be the response of an actual victim, and is symptomatic of a key problem associated family violence - discrediting the victims.
    Sloganeering; it begets sloganeering just as violence begets violence.

    In the Christchurch Health and Development Study, researchers found that at least 90% of those respondents who reported partner violence said that they both perpetrated violence and were victims of violence

    I'd wearily prefer to ask whether focusing on the underlying causes for this perpetuation of violence rather than making perceived gender based assumptions might not be the quickest tack to the heart of the issue.
    A statement such as this:

    Domestic violence is a male problem, and women are the victims.

    This is troublesome stereotyping, when taken to it's natural logical conclusion: "crime is a male problem" - a finding which can be statistically backed up by comparing the number of male (8,091) and female (527) prison inmates - however as a rational approach, beyond presenting an opportunity to point fingers across the gender divide, it's an indictment of the manner in which society raises its offspring, especially our males.

    More importantly, the quote in itself falls short of examining the reasons for violence in a manner that is holistically applicable. It could be well utlised by policy makers but offers very little in the way of reasonably tangible solutions to victims, aggressors or bystanders in these situations - this in a society where for the most part our socialised expressions of justice still largely conform to a primitive pseudo-christian ideology based around forgiveness, repentance and the like.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1785 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: History is now, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    — That guy from Rage Against the Machine. They’re quite good, eh. I saw them at Big Day Out that time – wicked as man. The whole pit was goin’ off. I would rate that in the top 5 of all the live bands I’ve seen. Probably Metallica would be #1 or Guns n Roses in ’94. And Pearl Jam would be #3 or #4.

    Sorry I missed that, and no disrespect to your other favs who all sound pretty heavy Robyn; I promise if any of the bands on your list get their own political views and activism page on wikipedia or manage to recruit a Harvard graduate, who worked in the office of California Democratic Senator Alan Cranston, a member whose father was a participant in the Mau Mau Uprising and served as Kenya’s first ambassador to the United Nations, a group whose manifesto to "combine music and activism. The lofty goal would be bringing down and oppressive, racist, capitalistic system that feeds on the exploited and the repressed." a group that has attempted to do this in a manner that so articulately and palpably expresses the anger that many on the left appear to feel behind static text on web pages, then I’ll be sure to quote one of their members too.

    Carry umbrellas, death falls form the sky.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1785 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: A simple strategy for Trump to…, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Trump may as well be in power now it seems

    May as well be..

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1785 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Is being a tax haven worth it?,


    Jeeves: It’s an odd one sir. They managed to quite successfully see their way past the abductions and incarcerations, the death penalty, forced abortions, unenforced labour legislation and the horrendous environmental and human rights records when negotiating their FTA with China. Their waterways are, erm, murky. They are unable to deal with a housing crisis or accommodate their beneficiaries. They export live sheep dead to our friends the Saudis and yet their opposition party does still seem unduly concerned about ‘a bit of reputation’.

    Wooster: ‘a bit of reputation’?

    Jeeves: It would seem that’s the chief consideration sir. Their opposition leader’s argument against the trusts was that these trusts are causing them “further international embarrassment.” It appears that he is voicing these concerns largely on behalf of the exporters.

    Wooster: The exporters?

    Jeeves: Well not all the exporters sir, the…their primary exporters. The exporting rabble know full well that their livelihood largely hinges on them being able to offer a marketable commodity at a competitive price.

    Wooster: Sorry you quite lost me there Jeeves. And these primary exporters?

    Jeeves: Largely the wealthy sir…

    Wooster: Trust funders?

    Jeeves: Like yourself sir, wealthy people who deal exclusively with other wealthy people. And the opposition party appear to believe that this leeway for foreign trusts might put a gentleman such as sir’s good self off purchasing their commodities…

    Wooster: Do we have a New Zealand based trust Jeeves?

    Jeeves: Why of course sir.

    Wooster: Are we in possession of their commodities?

    Jeeze: Certainly, sir’s cellar contains many samples of their finest.

    Wooster: And this opposition party is concerned that their Government’s protection of our God given right to own a trust in this colony may dissuade us from engaging in business with them at the expense of acquiring more wealth to consolidate in our trusts?

    Jeeves: Well yes sir.

    Wooster: But that’s absurd Jeeves. Inconveniencing the moneyed elite by preventing us from holding a trust, and doing so primarily on behalf of other elite to protect a muddied reputation in the name of money?

    Jeeves: Well yes sir, though I do believe that the thrust of the argument may be that ordinary people pay taxes and don’t have trusts, let alone foreign trusts. There does appear to be a consensus among their local commentators that Westminster might prevent Sainsbury’s from purchasing New Zealand lamb unless the New Zealand Government steps in to prevent you from exploiting their trust system and evading our tax system, sir.

    Wooster: But I am a Lord Jeeves! This is the honest toil of a Westminster man, for what benefit would we do such a thing?

    Jeeves: Yes, very good Sir, the proposed limitations do seem geared to appeal primarily to those most unusually ethical nations on the outskirts of the globe. As you quite rightly observe, their approach seems to centre around the damage the trust legislation may do to one’s reputation, at least a perception of one.

    Wooster: Ah yes, perception, it tends to require a certain keenness. Why don’t these appeasers simply label this practice/ system what-have-you as what it is: anti egalitarian, and run with that in a concerted effort to generate a genuine groundswell of support among the underpaid voters in their electorates?

    Jeeves: Cup of tea sir?

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1785 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Talking past each other:…, in reply to Sacha,

    The world is mainly beautiful.

    Good on you Sacha, that was an inspiring post. *hugs*

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1785 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Talking past each other:…, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    We have seen a huge decrease in tobacco consumption with the increase in taxation but who pays? the offender or the victim?.

    Some interesting things to consider there Steve. Most notably is that the huge decrease hasn’t occurred in isolation but as part of a vast raft of measures.

    With regards to smoking and any addiction I think it’s well worth asking how much much income we as a society wish to derive from citizens’ addictions and misery. I’d wager that by’offenders’ above you were citing tobacco companies,but the fact remains that the profit derived by tobacco companies is a pittance compared to the taxation accrued by the Government at smokers’ expense.

    Having lived through some of these implemented measures, I’ve found the effects on my own consumption oddly circular, I pay $45 or so dollars now for a 30g of tobacco up from $15 dollars 2 decades ago, a pricing plan that has put me in the enviable position of now growing my tobacco for myself and anyone else that wishes to ‘steal’ some. The seeds were not difficult to acquire, and I managed to source another plant at the local market, grown by a horticultural lecturer at our local government funded polytech.

    I don’t wish to discredit taxation as a means of quelling consumer demand, but I fear when that taxation becomes so exorbitant that it’s creating new cottage industries to avoid this taxation while the Government generates record breaking income, then more wherewithal is required by authorities as to what may constitute realistic and reasonable outcomes.

    With regards to the topic at hand, I’m astonished as to how we could stage such a debate, a debate essentially about the human body, without much said about either the role our water consumption may play in mitigating the effects of poor diet, and as an appetite suppressant, and even more obviously the role exercise (?) plays in maintaining health. It’s almost a discussion about a machine, focusing on one fuel element with little concern for the output i.e. the function of the machine.

    For those calling for taxation, I see this as an ideal opportunity to ask how much tax will be enough and and what point might that taxation cross the line from a reasonable measure for improving public health to cynical income generation off the back of addiction ~ with possible undesirable side effects such as losing control of supply, pricing; the market essentially.

    When you have a taxation system that has become so convoluted that prime time TV adverts tout NZ’s first Consumer trusted tax refund company in assisting taxpayers in legally accessing refunds they’ve been overtaxed, and succeeding in doing so with 9/10 customers, then you can more or less guarantee that in this kind of environment the implementation of yet another tax will not be an easy sell.

    If this taxation were being proposed with the objective of funding a full dental care program then I would most probably support it.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1785 posts Report Reply

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