Posts by mark taslov

  • Up Front: I Never Been ta Borstal,

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1807 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Wonder Bi, in reply to steven crawford,

    Oops, I inadvertently missed including this link

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1807 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: I Never Been ta Borstal, in reply to steven crawford,

    Thank you so much for this Steven, I was so preoccupied with my own thoughts that I never got around to expressing my gratitude here.

    But the watered-down, less serious, boys-will-be-boys “Young men get themselves into fights” dismissal statements persist, without considering that the majority of young men are not inherently violent human beings. They are just expected to be, for fucked-up cultural reasons.

    I think this is so important Steven and is where a lot of our failure as a society lies. While I largely agree with the thrust of Christopher Dempsey’s post, where he said:

    If we approach violence as a concept without gender

    Reversing that and approaching gender as a concept without violence is incredibly problematic in a wider context, in that it rather requires us to ignore biology. Though we are a ‘civilised’ species, biological influence will persist to some degree.

    Having been caught up in the cycle of violence until well into my twenties I’m all too familiar with the role acculturation plays in perpetuating these patterns. This “boys-will-be-boys” mantra was too often lazily prescribed by our elders as an endorsement of violence , ‘boys’ presenting a very limited range in terms of identity, essentially we have excused violence in our male population for decades. We desensitise people to violence and then celebrate our most desensitised.

    New Zealand has had an all too long love affair with hard bastards. Every night both major networks deliver our daily 10 minute fill of homoerotic ball chasing. We love our boys, with their indigenous dancing and their topless ads, we find a whole boy squad’s inability to treat one woman with a modicum of respect and dignity "disappointing" but we’ll drop one of those boys for cavorting with a woman. To the uninformed observer of our media, New Zealand might appear to be one of the gayest patriarchal cultures on the planet. Jesting aside there are serious issues incumbent with that. In almost any given test match at some point the game devolves into a brawl, we see punches thrown and invariably no one is sent off, the commentators aren’t horrified, instead it is minimised, endorsed even as “a bit of biffo”.

    LGBT stats indicate that domestic violence is not contingent on gender, in fact it would appear at face value to be more contingent on our sexuality. Women bear the biggest brunt of the vast majority of our country’s serious domestic violence incidents, but this is because we appear as a species to be predominantly heterosexual. At the heart of the issue is our inability to assert self-control with those we are closest to, regardless of our chromosones – at an individual level. Touting this cliche that “men can hit harder” largely ignores the ingenuity of the human brain. The violence doesn’t stop when the fist hits the eye socket, it stops when we successfully resist the urge to lash out.

    Some of us will have heard the phrase “soften the fuck up”, it is amusing, but the humorous juxtaposition is in danger of obscuring the message. Rather more importantly it does appear that with regards to the intended audience: that horse has already bolted. If someone is in the habit of perpertrating violence it is resolve and self discipline that is often most neglected. Softening may even be dangerous if misconstrued as heightened self-regard at the expense of others.


    The first gig (for want of a better word) I attended was the Topp Twins. As a confused child drowning in an assigned gender identity they were and still are a revelation, they were like boys, highlighting that as people we can be who we are regardless of pressures to conform.

    Visualising gender identity as a spectrum – and please excuse the primitiveness of this – with women at one end and men at the other, in New Zealand women are represented diversely occupying positions all the way across, while men, for the most part, appear bunched up on their side. Obviously this is a generalisation with gradations and exceptions, but in the media, excluding Laughing Samoans, male feminity in New Zealand is represented by the singular role model Mike Puru.

    New Zealand is a violent place, and it may be many years before we can begin to shake that off meaningfully, society is as accomplished at self denial and delusion as any individual. Our national colours are a binary black and white. We pay lipservice to our diversity but for the most part we fear nonconformity as much as the next country. ‘boys will be boys’ is not something boys need be any longer.

    While in some ways we may appear more egalitarian than most civilisations, there is very little equality in the maxim ‘boys mustn’t hit girls’ without its complement. We want people growing up equal, feeling cherished and being loved regardless of gender, race or any other box that comes along, because it is the absense of these emotional attachments that breeds the detachment that leads to atrocity.

    So as a violent society, beyond prohibition we must find ways to harness this violence. I’d advocate including a traditional martial arts curriculum at school, not so much as a means of self-defence, but as a means of self-control. As a country it is our self-control that requires mindfulness, whether it be in our diets, our use of substances, our language or our actions. We don’t need to harden or toughen up, we need to smarten up, temper our prejudices, reach out and be more inclusive. Not every criticism is a bash, whether we regard ourselves as individuals or as members of a team, a fact of life is that we can always do things better, especially when our priority is to improve broken systems.

    People are angry, and for good reason, we are routinely marginalised, victimised, beaten, raped, killed by other people, and more often than not as culprits we are perpetuating trauma induced cycles. Every assault is a failure of our society, not just our gender, or our chromosome configuration or our skin colour or our religious group: our entire society. Trauma victims need to be scouted out and helped meaningfully while young. For now there’s an insurmountable amount of work to be done in that regard, and wasting time dicking around with names for the relevant department or diluting our positive messages with transphobic myths that gender is an accident of birth is as clear an indication as any as to just how far off the pace we are.

    I hope this wasn’t too much Steven, just some thoughts.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1807 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Wonder Bi,

    Of course they should. Right now it still feels like a buck each way – the publicity for saying there are going to be LGBT characters, and then they turn out to be presented in such a way that the Million Moms aren’t going to notice.

    Despite some notable departures this century, we are your psychos, your serial killers and your dolphin thieves, but usually we are just the punchline. It would be nice to see more transgender characters whose identities were incidental.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1807 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: I Never Been ta Borstal, in reply to Lilith __,

    the Dunedin Longitudinal Study has failed to distinguish between lack-of-impulse-control violence and violence in the context of abusive relationships.

    Thank you in particular for this Lilith, it pinpoints for me why I felt the statement was left wanting. In neglecting to offer any reasoning as to why the research may initially have been rejected Moffitt failed to adequately account for the volatility of the climate in which such high profile incriminations would be received and could potentially be exploited.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1807 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: I Never Been ta Borstal, in reply to Lilith __,

    to feminist-bashing

    I’m genuinely sorry I came across that way Lilith, I saw one academic calling out a specific group of academics, I found the claims noteworthy.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1807 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: I Never Been ta Borstal, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Looking forward, for me a problem is – assuming we are capable of accepting the findings of the now quite dated research – how might we adjust our family violence campaigns accordingly? As a leading question; if we were to ease up on the gender profiling and instead heighten our focus on the maxim that It’s Not OK, regardless of whether someone ends up in the hospital or the morgue, inclusively applicable to all genders, then how might such a reconsidered approach to violence as a whole potentially drive a reduction in homicides, suicides and numbers of victims hospitalised and not hospitalised?

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1807 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: I Never Been ta Borstal, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    That’s not remotely close to my interpretation. Firstly none of the papers produced are 40 years old. These are recent findings.

    Very simply, Moffitt’s statement presenting the claims that most feminist criminologists flat rejected the study’s findings and that the researchers were not invited to submit the findings at conferences doesn’t sound to me as if Professor Moffitt was attributing the widespread rejection to flawed research, individual scruples or poor presentation but rather hinting at there being some minor degree of collusion for a period for such a comprehensive suppression to occur.

    Despite what I’m certain is a far more nuanced reality, the statement itself echos the kinds of conspiracy theories one is likely to hear from deluded men’s right activists,and hence “for a moment” sometime in May it felt like a natural fit for Matthew’s thread, in exactly that context.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1807 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: I Never Been ta Borstal, in reply to Helen Wilson,

    When this finding first came out it was flat rejected by most feminist criminologists so we really had difficulty getting those papers published. Even after the papers were published, we were never invited to submit the findings at any conferences. It was one of the most difficult parts of the research to get it out there.

    Prof Terry Moffitt
    Associate Director
    Dunedin Longitudinal Study
    (31:50) Why Am I Ep2

    Learning of this at the time and considering the implications, for a moment I wondered if it might even be worth including in Matthew Dentith’s thread. As you are no doubt aware the doco goes on to mention that their research has subsequently been backed up by studies in the UK, US etc. Good posts Helen.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1807 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Stop acting like the law is…, in reply to Sacha,

    Ruefully taking a string from a warden’s bow; I’m prepared to accept that you had (past perfect tense) never seen welsh or german written without caps, I likewise had not seen them written without caps until I encountered (simple past ) them in the dictionary while I was writing (past continuous) the post above. I’m absolutely confident that we have (present perfect tense) both seen them now.

    I despise correcting native speakers language use given that languages are communal – despite the best efforts of prescriptivists to centralise them – their evolutions in freer societies are largely driven by the proles – that and the fact that efforts to disrupt communication for the explicit purpose of correction seldom occur due to a lack of intelligibility but oftentimes in spite of it.

    I do see where you’re coming from Sacha with regards to Pākehā, and I’m certain that what you are saying will be swallowed without a squeak at primary schools, however as a cack-hander I’m ruefully aware of the way language has been historically exploited as a tool to impose conformity, and personally I’m reluctant to value it as anything less than a means of expression.

    We have been trained to accept the rationalisation behind the imperative to reformat an exclusively oral language into a written language, this largely being cast as a progress for primitives; a mission of civilising and integration, unfortunately we’ve never quite managed to do so without repurposing the intrinsic function of the language itself, colonising it.

    This advocacy of the macron by Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori – which is after all just another autonomous crown entity – is one more notch in colonialism’s belt. Given the advances in AV technology which had occurred prior to the establishment of this crown entity in 1987 and moreover given the uniformity in the way the Maori language had previously been alphabeticised, I find the decision to further accessorise Maori, sorry Māori language oddly condescending to its native users who by definition will for the most part pick up the language orally. This is especially evident when compared to the widespread irregularities we seem equipped to parse in both the spellings and pronunciation of English words. Furthermore given that the crown entity is not the English but the Māori Language Commission, their brief and dictates don’t carry much weight across languages. Given the tendency in English to discard these types of modifiers I remain undecided as to whether imposing these macrons onto commonly used loan words in English usage is either another facade or perhaps a façade of cultural unity. Ultimately, as with all things, one hopes pragmatism prevails.

    I appreciate that linguistic imperialism is essential in sciences, academia, industry and the like, but in an informal context, the impetus to misascribe, manipulate or police the intentions, formatting and inherent meaning in the language use of others is not entirely dissimilar to our authoritarian tendency to recharacterise and reframe the intentions, functions and uses of human beings and by proxy everything we might perceive: nature – as a means of consolidating power. As such, I have found your responses astutely appropriate and meticulously pointed in the context of an article related to ‘the war on drugs’, I say this sincerely, not having ventured to ask for clarification as to whether this was your intention or not. If I did have a question though, it would be; what agenda does our “secular” government-owned national broadcaster have in disseminating Christian doctrine in the form of It Is Written on TV2 from 4:15-45 every Monday?

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1807 posts Report Reply

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