On the subject of atheists enjoying Christmas, I'd like to add this:
White wine in the sun
It's also nice in that it's clearly Southern Hemisphere without being kitsch kiwiana or aussiana.
It's a bit apocalyptic, but this is nicely put:
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
It's not even politics, it's pure us vs them, which has a long and dishonourable history. Person x is on the other team (whether that's within the nats or outside) and is therefore scum and not worthy of any respect whatsoever.
One hateful team pretty much inevitably gives rise to its opposite, and it's hard not to respond to it all by picking up a pitchfork and wading in. Hager's done a masterful job of keeping a tone of measured disapproval throughout the book. I think he's right in that the whole thing poisons the well, and makes politics only possible for those with the spoons to engage on that level, turning off the majority of us who don't think calling people c****s etc is acceptable political discourse. But how else do you shut it down? I don't have an answer.
The chapter links in my kindle version don't work, which makes it hard to jump around within the text. But that being said, knowing a little bit about how publication works, it's a good thing that it's available at all so soon after the paper version is out. There's lots of tinkering to do between final copy and e-publication, and indexing it properly takes a reasonable second place to making it available quickly.
The whole thing puts the Whaleoil attacks on Tania Billingsley in a different context, doesn't it?
I would say that the name Shylock is more or less unknown to the majority of Pakeha New Zealanders, let alone the PI and Asian ones
A lot of us came across it in 7th form English, which not everyone takes, but it's not one of the more obscure plays. And there were definitely PI and Asian kids in my class.
And while Shylock's a problematic stereotype from a time gone by, he does get some damn good lines:
Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs,
dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with
the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
to the same diseases, heal'd by the same means,
warm'd and cool'd by the same winter and summer
as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us,
do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?
If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.
If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility?
Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his
sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge.
The villainy you teach me, I will execute,
and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.
(Act III, scene I)
I can't decide whether I'd rather they went the full contrails and Celts monty, thus alienating 99% of the electorate, or toned it down, stopped contributing to racial disharmony and got more influence as a result. It's easier to be academic about it when I'm not the one facing negative stereotypes.
I think they're trying to be down with the kids. I actually read once on one of those sites a sort of strategy that involved attempting to recruit the grandkids (presumably the ones over 18). Because there's nothing that shapes the views of young people like their racist grandparents.
It's certainly courageous to call out the leader of a political party two months out from an election.
But she's not the first in her role to do what she's done, and be attacked for it.
Whyte carefully exempts the work of the Waitangi Tribunal from his criticism
Very carefully indeed:
The reparations made to iwi by the Waitangi Tribunal are NOT an example of this. The Treaty of Waitangi gave Maori property rights over the land they occupied. Many violations of these rights followed. The remedies provided by the Waitangi Tribunal are not a case of race-based favouritism. They are recognition of property rights and, therefore, something that we in ACT wholeheartedly support.
The Waitangi Tribunal almost never provides reparations. Most of its reports recommend that iwi and the Government negotiate a settlement, and those settlements are agreed separately from the Tribunal's processes. Which leaves politicians free to fulminate against the negotiated settlements while paying lip service to respecting the Treaty and property rights. I don't believe Act has ever voted for any Treaty settlement, and has a long history of opposing the process: http://web.archive.org/web/20060518141006/http://www.act.org.nz/policy_treaty_details.aspx
Because of that history, I see a silver lining to this cloud. Act's not publicly using the rank language they've used in the past (and some of their folk still use, in some weird corners of the internet), and it's not likely to get them the same sort of success that Brash had with Orewa ten years ago. It would be nice if this wasn't a regular feature of our political discourse, but I'm glad it's now having its voice among tiny parties not likely to contribute heavily to the makeup of government, rather than being a major opposition policy platform running up to a close election.