Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Not doing justice

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  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Everyone sits around wringing their hands at the trivialisation of politics, when the trivial issues are all they seem to want to can talk about

    Anti-semitism isn't a trivial issue. Neither is the inability of our major parties (remember Aaron Gilmore, etc) to recruit enough half-decent candidates to cover 71 electorates. This is all stuff that contributes to impoverishing our political discourse - it's not all Paddy Gower's fault.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    they can’t answer on their own

    There do appear to be some who can, when asked a question, deliver their own personal opinion AND the party policy all while remaining consistent with the party to which they belong.

    BUT there are rather a large number of candidates who appear to have been chosen for reasons other than their ability to apply their intellect to a question and then formulate a coherent response.

    And then there are the ones who are more than smart enough to think for themselves but choose not to do so and instead deliver the "message" - because, politics.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Anti-semitism isn’t a trivial issue.

    You are assuming he was knowingly anti-semitic, which he says he is not. On what grounds do you challenge his word?

    Neither is the inability of our major parties (remember Aaron Gilmore, etc) to recruit enough half-decent candidates to cover 71 electorates.

    I agree, but that isn’t what the media is talking about, is it? Because if they did, there would be a giant neon finger pointing right back at them.

    This is all stuff that contributes to impoverishing our political discourse – it’s not all Paddy Gower’s fault.

    No, it isn’t. An unelected, obnoxious and opinionated prat like Gower trying to insert himself between the voter and the political process as if he has some sort of democratic mandate to tell us what we should think wouldn’t exist if we had a proper media as part of a proper political discourse.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2213 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    You are assuming he was knowingly anti-semitic, which he says he is not. On what grounds do you challenge his word?

    Because I read his comment. Because it had all the hallmarks of the classic antisemitic rant - the shadowy financial world conspiracy, Key's sinister "sneer". It was phrased in a very familiar way. And I just don't believe that a constituent would put those particular words in his mouth.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    You are assuming he was knowingly anti-semitic, which he says he is not. On what grounds do you challenge his word?

    Yeah look the guy used a racial slur. Sure maybe he was just a complete idiot who had no clue that racial slurs are offensive, or maybe not! I don’t really care, I expect better from Labour Party candidates.

    [Also the absurd line about a constituent! I mean really.]

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Jesus, what world do you live in? Reality check time: not everyone is a high falutin’ dinner party intellectual like the PA crew.

    Double down reality check, Tommo – there’s nothing hoity-toity about at least knowing what the insults you pick up on Facebook actually mean. But hey, good to know you think giving a shit about Jew-baiting and plain old ignorance is a pretentious urban liberal affectation.

    You are assuming he was knowingly anti-semitic, which he says he is not. On what grounds do you challenge his word?

    Oh, FFS... you're just being silly now. So, Gibson ignorantly picked up a racial slur off Facebook and threw it in the Prime Minister's direction. Well, that's a relief. Accidental bigots are so much easier to tolerate than the deliberate kind.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    It doesn't surprise me you would think that, you tend to be a melancholy pessimist on the sunniest of days.

    If someone gives his word he didn't mean something to be interpreted in a particular way, that is good enough for me until he proves otherwise.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2213 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    a high falutin’ dinner party intellectual

    Did it ever occur to you that not everyone needs to rabbit on about their salt-of-the-earth working-class bona fides all the fucking time?

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Danielle,

    Did it ever occur to you that not everyone needs to rabbit on about their salt-of-the-earth working-class bona fides all the fucking time?

    Can I, just for a minute? My mum worked part-time in a laundry of an old-folks home, and she was in every Shakespeare performed in Timaru for twenty years. I was in The Merchant of Venice when I was sixteen. My boyfriend was in Richard III: he worked in a bookshop. I could go on, but it would be boring and try-hard.

    What you're doing, Tom, is perpetuating a bunch of really harmful stereotypes about working-class people, and erasing a whole bunch of people I grew up loving in the process.

    I'm now a solo mother living off my ex-partner's benificence, but I still have a fucking degree in Shakespeare.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    The guy is at least having a go, which is more than anyone here has achieved so give him a break.

    Oh, please. The "Vote Positive" message had long since gone out and the guy was still spewing stupid stuff all over Facebook(I gather he's quite prolific). At the very, very least he simply wasn't disciplined enough to function as a major party candidate.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Jesus, what world do you live in? Reality check time: not everyone is a high falutin’ dinner party intellectual like the PA crew. 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, and expecting everyone to understand his character in the context of 16th century anti-semitism or else suffer the scorn of the chattering classes smacks of intellectual snobbery. The guy is at least having a go, which is more than anyone here has achieved so give him a break.

    So, let me get this straight, Tom: Gibson used an anti-semetic smear (he claims accidentally, despite the fact he used the accompanying language of anti-semiticism in his description of the PM) and we should let it be it because most people won't get the reference? Not only does that smack of the intellectualism you accuse of us expressing ("The common people won't get it!") but it's also contrary: you want to say Gibson didn't really understand what the term meant and yet the fact he used it in an environment where you claim most people don't understand what a "Shylock" is indicates Gibson did have some idea of what it meant and he thought he'd get away with it.

    Here's a thing, Tom. Jewish people are voters too, and surely you want to court them into voting for your party. Which is why you should be as up in arms about this slur against them as many of the other people in your party.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Gregor Ronald,

    Well pointed out B Jones: Shakespeare's Shylock is unlikable, but that trait is then used to make a serious point about how we all share a common humanity regardless of race and religion. Even in a lightweight play it's complicated.

    I do believe it's possible for someone to know the name but not its connotations - not everyone took English to Year 13 or beyond. Two friends I asked didn't know that Shylock was a Shakespearean character or Jewish, they just thought it was slang for "money lender". Another thought it referred to land agents.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Gregor Ronald, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I agree, he used the "Sorry people were offended" line several times. I kept waiting for him to apologise for the statement itself, but I honestly think he didn't understand the difference.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    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, and expecting everyone to understand his character in the context of 16th century anti-semitism or else suffer the scorn of the chattering classes smacks of intellectual snobbery.

    What a pile of attempted condescending crap, delivered from somewhere below ankle-height. Linwood College here in Chch staged The Merchant of Venice back before the earthquakes, with a multi-ethnic cast and a female Shylock. As a relatively downmarket school without a hall the production was held in the gym, with the audience surrounding the action.

    The innovative touches dreamed up by the kids, such as Portia and Nerissa’s getting around by scooter, and the multimedia projected online dating Venetian style, went over a treat. Shylock’s dropping her pound of flesh knife to vibrate point downwards in the gym floor would probably have impressed even Tom Semmens’s salt of the earth meathead study subjects

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Linwood College here in Chch staged The Merchant of Venice back before the earthquakes, with a multi-ethnic cast and a female Shylock.

    To say nothing of the Maori Merchant of Venice.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Accidental bigots are so much easier to tolerate than the deliberate kind.

    One day we will be allowed to vote on a list of people we DON'T want in parliament, no matter how many other people like them, once enough people say "sod off", they are gone*.

    I'm personally starting a list now in hopes that the day may come soon.
    Mr Gibson just made it on the list.

    Accidental or not, bigots do not represent me in parliament.

    *and yes I know that would make the PM job much less attractive, which may not be a bad thing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Bodmin, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Merchant of Venice in the 7th Form. Standards must be slipping,
    At Timaru Boys High School in the mid 1940's we did it in the 3rd form and loved very page of it.

    Auckland • Since May 2014 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    One day we will be allowed to vote on a list of people we DON’T want in parliament, no matter how many other people like them, once enough people say “sod off”, they are gone*.

    Now THIS gets my vote!

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    Neither is the inability of our major parties (remember Aaron Gilmore, etc) to recruit enough half-decent candidates to cover 71 electorates.

    Which is part of a trend towards slumping political party memberships, not just in NZ, but also in Britain, America, the EU...

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5420 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    The guy is at least having a go, which is more than anyone here has achieved

    Projection much? Many people here contribute to political processes other than by sitting at their keyboards.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    Projection much? Many people here contribute to political processes other than by sitting at their keyboards.

    Yes. As I indicated in the post, quite a few valued commenters here are actively and usefully involved in the political process.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Yes. As I indicated in the post, quite a few valued commenters here are actively and usefully involved in the political process.

    Sitting at one's keyboard can also be quite useful in and of itself. Activism can be carried out effectively from one's chair, in the right circumstances.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    Sitting at one’s keyboard can also be quite useful in and of itself. Activism can be carried out effectively from one’s chair, in the right circumstances.

    Show-off.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    David Shearer's Facebook post:

    I've been shocked and disappointed at the anti-Semitic comment and defacing of billboards over the past few days, including in my electorate of Mt Albert. I don't want John Key to win the election because I believe NZ can do much better with a different, fairer government, not because of whether he's Jewish or not.

    NZ is a tolerant society. We pride ourselves on it. Most of what I've seen shows the utter ignorance of the writers. I've taken the worst off my page here when it crops up. I don't want to see it.

    I've had Jewish people get in touch worried about where the discourse is going. They too have views on what is happening, many of them very opposed to Israeli military actions.

    I've made my views very clear about the war in Gaza. I worked there over four years. My job was to stand up for those who couldn't: Palestinians who were occupied and marginalised - in Gaza, sometimes under bombardment - and the West Bank.

    I also lived in a Jewish area of Jerusalem, beside the Old City. My neighbours were fine people.

    Let's focus on the issues, I'm happy to debate them, but not the abuse.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    The Key’s a Jew schtick seems to attract some very confused people. At the time of Lou Reed’s death there was post on a deservedly obscure blog damning “Jewkey” and Jews in general, after which the author waxed maudlin about what a great loss to the world Lou Reed was.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

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