OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Dear Labour Caucus

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  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Gio's been holding forth recently (here and in other venues) about what a ghastly concept it is and I've tried to take it on the chin.

    Respectfully, you may possibly have formed a somewhat exaggerated impression of the extent in which the things I say or write outside of here are about you or Public Address. But feel free to inform Damian that he can come out from under the blankets, I'm not taking part in further threads on PAS. As soon as people stop calling me out I'll stop popping up in this one, promise.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7355 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    But feel free to inform Damian that he can come out from under the blankets,

    Could you please not phrase it as yet another dig at him? Please?

    I’m not taking part in further threads on PAS. As soon as people stop calling me out I’ll stop popping up in this one, promise.

    I can only respectfully ask you to reconsider.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18815 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    I can say with absolute hand on my heart that I have chatted with Gio outside this forum, and at all times he has been a gentle, kind and totally dignified person.
    I always find opprobrium difficult, Gio has never displayed it to me in any context.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I'm not being grumpy - although I can't say I enjoyed the treatment I got by Damian and Emma on this thread, and I really don't revel in the stuff as much as people might think that I do - but I have been an unproductive member of the community for at least the last year. I always lead the discussion in a variation of the same dead end, and can't stop it from happening again the following time. It's... unfortunate.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7355 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    I’m not being grumpy – although I can’t say I enjoyed the treatment I got by Damian and Emma on this thread,

    No, that’s understandable, and I’m sincerely sorry about that. But you describing Damian as hiding “under the blankets” (like a big sook or something?) was just the last thing I needed to see after explaining I was feeling tired and stressed and asking everyone to show good grace. C’mon.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18815 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Please, Russell, could you edit that epithet, and my comment, out?

    As you wish. It did seem to be the undertone, but I’ve chosen a synonym as a matter of grace.

    Edited by Deborah to add:
    Oops. Russell and I have both been in editing my comment. To be clear, the quote up there is my words, and the plain text words are Russell’s. Russell was adjusting some wording in the comment at my request.

    Thanks, Russell.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1303 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Russell Brown,

    feeling pissed off. And I’m just really, really tired.

    I thought that was the cruxt of a lot of this. People are worn out and tired .They all need a break. Tempers fray. Some will go off on holiday, open pressies, eat fine cuisine and enjoy there time out. If with kids, activities will continue for 7 ish weeks.they will return to work and school refreshed. Others will finish their job for 3 weeks. Spend Xmas pay on just that and run out of monies before they go back to work. Their kids will sit at home for 4 more weeks looking after the younger ones. Their depressing cycle will continue for as long as they can keep their job. Their focus will be on that. Just that.
    We have bigger divisions in society than I have seen before.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6078 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to merc,

    As for the word grace, that is far too holy for me ;-)

    +1

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6078 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    I thought that was the cruxt of a lot of this. People are worn out and tired .They all need a break. Tempers fray.

    Yeah, I think so. I'm really looking forward to some quiet time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18815 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Deborah,

    Thanks, Russell.

    It's nice to see those words.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18815 posts Report Reply

  • Isaac Freeman, in reply to Deborah,

    On “Don’t be a dick about it”. I like your reframing of it, Russell, as “show good grace to each other”. The latter emphasises reciprocity, but the former doesn’t. The former is one group of people telling another group of people how to behave, and it comes from a position of power.

    I've always though "Don't be a dick" is something you're supposed to tell yourself, with the implication that you're basically a decent person and can moderate your own speech. But "Show good grace" is a positive version.

    Neither scales. The larger the group, the greater the chance you'll hit a situation where someone is deliberately trolling, is psychologically incapable of detecting that they're being a dick, or (as seems to have been the case here) came across as a dick to someone else by pure accident and with no ill intention. "Show good grace" is a good moral principle for everyone, but you can't legislate morality.

    I suspect that thinking about the power to effect change, and the power to withstand government intervention, and the power to access government services (very broadly understood), might be a more useful way to analyse class structure in New Zealand

    This seems to get to the heart of why "Left" is a controversial word. If it's defined by not having the power to effect change, then it would seem that the Labour Party can only be Left when they're in opposition. By definition, if they attain the power to effect change through legislation, they're no longer Left.

    I'm not being facetious here (OK, not entirely) – I think for many people, the primary political instinct is only to subvert the dominant paradigm. It's all about power, and anyone who has power is automatically suspect. For others (and this is my own bias), power is politically neutral: it's what you do with it that matters.

    I prefer the latter position: I think people are innocent until proven guilty, even if they have power. But I'll grant that this means I'll always be slower to recognise problems, and I can respect people who are more suspicious than I am.

    I think that there is something that people here might turn their minds to over the next few weeks, and that is the extent to which PAS is a bit of a closed shop at times, and if you don’t hold the same views as the main grouping here, then it can be difficult.

    I've been a frequent PA reader for many years. I went to a Great Blend once. I know a few people personally, and I'm not new to online forums. I've never been shy with my opinions, and as a thirty-something educated male hetero Pakeha I don't exactly struggle to have my views heard. Even so, I've seldom posted until the last couple of weeks, and might not have continued if someone hadn't foolishly told me my contribution was a good one (thanks Hebe).

    My own reluctance to get involved didn't stem from a difference of political views, as mine aren't particularly unusual here. I think it was more that PAS seemed to have a bunch of people who are used to seeing politics from the inside, and I'm not there.
    Eventually I twigged that I can contribute on matters of abstract principle. I can't tell you much of anything about how David Shearer differs from David Cunliffe, but I can opine about whether there's any such thing as Left or Right.

    That might not be everyone's way in. Perhaps there are other people out there who aren't so privileged and blindly confident as to barge into an existing thread, but would participate on more general questions like "what is Class?" or "are Greens Left?"

    And yes, this comment has been self-censored. There’s a lot I’m not saying, because it won’t progress things at all, and it will only hurt people. However, one thing I must not self-censor is this: I do think that a fair amount of the opprobrium that was directed at Gio was unfair.

    For my part, I haven't understood any of it. Perhaps it went past me, but I didn't notice anybody being particularly rude to anybody. I'd assumed there was some offline history I wasn't aware of, and which was probably none of my business.

    Christchurch • Since Feb 2007 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    So, everyone, I would regard it as a Really Fucking Big Christmas Favour if you could all just show good grace to each other.

    Yeah, thanks Russell. Sincerely.

    But you describing Damian as hiding “under the blankets” (like a big sook or something?) was just the last thing I needed to see after explaining I was feeling tired and stressed and asking everyone to show good grace. C’mon.

    Quite. Don’t be a dick. Or extend good grace. Or something.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2132 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    Dude, seriously, thanks.

    What you provide with PA is of enormous value. And I disagree with a lot of what's been said here, but I'll let it go. But maybe it's worth remembering that people complain about the discussion because they value it so much?

    And seriously, go have that coffee.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    This seems to get to the heart of why “Left” is a controversial word. If it’s defined by not having the power to effect change, then it would seem that the Labour Party can only be Left when they’re in opposition.

    Actually, I thought it was fairly clear, and not much disputed: seeking to reform the structures of society such that those who are disadvantaged are given a position much closer to equality. The degree to which a party or government aims at that equality (sometimes to the cost of other values) defines how left they are. Red Guards - absolutely left. Alliance, circa 1991 - fairly left. Labour, circa 2008-2011 - somewhat so.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2132 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    And seriously, go have that coffee.

    I'm actually struggling right at this moment with where to go having written 300 words of a column about coffee then realising I'd already written a whole column about coffee for the same magazine. It's the week's second last big piece of work. Noes!

    But I've bridged it to climate change and stuff. No one's gonna know, right?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18815 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    But I've bridged it to climate change and stuff. No one's gonna know, right?

    Been reading Jim Hopkins again, huh?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Isaac Freeman, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I’ve been briskly informed in this thread about what’s incumbent on me – not that I have any idea how I might go about much of it.

    It's easy to say "someone should do X" as a vague idealised notion and forget that it can come across as a demand to the person who would actually have to do X.

    For my part, Russell, I would very much like it if you could provide us all with unicorns to ride around on. I think this is a very strong proposal, and I can't see any reason not to just go ahead with it. There really is no downside.

    I will name my unicorn Princess Glitterbelle.

    Christchurch • Since Feb 2007 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    But maybe it’s worth remembering that people complain about the discussion because they value it so much?

    Yup – and speaking on my own account, sometimes your ego getting some bruising and the occasional fetching scar is not a bad thing if it leaves you a little more thoughtful, considered and downright non-rectal at the end of it.

    On a recent post, I got a rather sharp (but civil) rap over the knuckles for carelessly using “tranny” in a way that was read as a slur on transgendered folks. I’d prepared a snarky riposte, but you know what… there was a fair point there and it lead to some damn useful reflection (and research) on that usage point. I’ve said before Emma and Deborah, Jackie and others have certainly made me more mindful of how I speak to, and about, women – which is a net win.

    ETA: And for all the snarking, sniping and cussing Russell and I have done over the years, I'd like to think we've also learned a few things from each other.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11902 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    ETA: And for all the snarking, sniping and cussing Russell and I have done over the years, I’d like to think we’ve also learned a few things from each other.

    For my part, heaps.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18815 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Edited by Deborah to add

    Oops.
    That helps. I was getting so confused and thought I was going a bit odd. :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6078 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Well, they both involve, um, heat and pressure, right?

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    On a recent post, I got a rather sharp (but civil) rap over the knuckles for carelessly using “tranny” in a way that was read as a slur on transgendered folks. I’d prepared a snarky riposte, but you know what… there was a fair point there and it lead to some damn useful reflection (and research) on that usage point.

    I recall. And the person who rapped you has presented as an intractable conflict-seeker in various places around the local blogosphere. Your sincere and good-faith response avoided the apparently inevitable car crash. I saw it and saved that one up mentally.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18815 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    I'd really hope that neither Damian nor Gio abandon PAS. By all means take a break, but what is said here is important. And your voices are important.

    I know what it's like to become fed-up with an argument here and I know what it's like to read a comment and think "shit I really was out of line". Nothing disappoints me more than when I fail to live up to my standards.

    I know the feeling of being hurt when someone I respect disagrees with me, even if, especially if, I still believe I'm right.

    I know the sadness of seeing what I thought a brilliant observation ripped apart, or worse, ignored.

    But all of those things are balanced by the conversations that we have here, the insights and experiences we share and the ideas we challenge together. This community informs my thinking about New Zealand and the world and it is worth it.

    As for Russell ...
    thanks for being the moderator you are, whatever criticisms I have should be held in the light of the wonderful community you have hosted over the years at times when many of us have been difficult to read.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3310 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Word. It's often the times I've been...robustly disagreeing with someone that I've learned the most. And I've been pretty close to flouncing on any number of occasions. But PAS always drags me back in.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I know the sadness of seeing what I thought a brilliant observation ripped apart, or worse, ignored.

    And isn't it strange how loud being ignored can be? Sometimes Bart ,I think your extensive knowledge leaves people digesting info rather than ignoring you. but it would feel the same for you, I am sure. Sometimes nothing more needs to be said because you rounded up nicely. :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6078 posts Report Reply

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