Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: One Million Tunes

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    And, meanwhile, I thought I'd leave the story about Bill English's son's Bebo page, with its apparent homophobic and racist invective, to GayNZ, but it appears I was the only one. There are two ways of looking at this. One is obvious: this is a 14 year-old kid, FFS (although before it went private, his profile had him as 18 years old). The other is that if a politician's teenage son had been caught in various other forms of anti-social behaviour that might embarrass his father, it would be news. (Indeed, it seems lately, if it's on Bebo, it leads.)

    Another way to look at it is this: If you didn't do or say anything when you were 14 that now makes you want to jump in a time machine and bitch-slap yourself, you're either a saint or a liar. And I don't know about you, Russell, but I'm no saint - just old enough that my teenaged arse-hattery isn't sitting in an on-line cache until the day I die.

    I also found Jay's "we're doing it for the kids" line a wee bit disingenuous as well. Not making any presumptions about the sexuality of Rory English (and not having seen the page in question), I find it rather interesting that some of the most "homophobic" kids I knew back in the day have just grown up and are now some of the best-adjusted gay men and lesbians I know.

    Now, I wonder if Jay wants to be held to the same standard when it comes to some of the content of GayNz's message boards?

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

  • Russell Brown,

    Another way to look at it is this: If you didn't do or say anything when you were 14 that now makes you want to jump in a time machine and bitch-slap yourself, you're either a saint or a liar. And I don't know about you, Russell, but I'm no saint - just old enough that my teenaged arse-hattery isn't sitting in an on-line cache until the day I die.

    It's a peculiarly modern peril. I talked about this last year with the America journalist Dan Gilmor, who pointed out that a future US president currently has something on his or her MySpace page that, in the present day, would be a disqualification for office. Gilmor's view was that we're all going to become a lot more forgiving.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    I tried Amazon but it seems to be restricted to US customers. How did you get it to work?

    Teenagers are barbarians. And rude things get written on the internet. I'm not sure if the issue of the guy being Bill English's son poses a moral dilemma or not. There's enough of those around as it is.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Palmer,

    Gaynz do make an excellent point that during the anti-smacking debate Bill English declared himself entirely responsible for his children's moral education. Some inspection of that moral education does therefore seem appropriate.

    Since Nov 2006 • 36 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I tried Amazon but it seems to be restricted to US customers. How did you get it to work?

    I just set up an account when prompted. It didn't have a New Zealand option for the address (I used CA 90210) but they were happy to take my card and deliver the bits.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Gaynz do make an excellent point that during the anti-smacking debate Bill English declared himself entirely responsible for his children's moral education. Some inspection of that moral education does therefore seem appropriate.

    Crap. So every time someone says they are responsible for something in their private life the rest of us have a moral right to come snooping??

    To take a less emotionally loaded example, I'm responsible for my savings, but you have absolutely no damn right to come snooping around them, let alone sticking them on the front page.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    To take a less emotionally loaded example, I'm responsible for my savings, but you have absolutely no damn right to come snooping around them, let alone sticking them on the front page.

    Is looking at a public web page "snooping around" though? I assume you'll be taking the same indignant stance the next time the Herald bases a story on something written by some other kid on Bebo? Because that does happen all the time these days.

    Anyway, I think this is a bit of a can of worms, so enough.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    90210, funny. They took ma money.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Gilmor's view was that we're all going to become a lot more forgiving.

    And I can only hope we're going to see a few less biarro gotcha stories like this:

    The daughter of Republican presidential hopeful Rudolph Giuliani has signalled her backing for Democrat Barack Obama, US media reports say.

    According to her profile on social networking site Facebook, Giuliani's daughter Caroline, 17, was a "liberal", online magazine Slate reported.

    In the listing, which was removed on Monday, she said she was a member of a Facebook group supporting Mr Obama.

    Um, OK. So, Slate's Lucy Morrow Caldwell came up with the stunning revelation that children often have different political views from their parents. Oh, and when your parents go through a very public and ugly divorce relations with your father and now-stepmother may be less than cordial. Stop the presses...

    I don't know what's more disturbing - that there are journalists out there who are spending way too much time cruising Beebo and Facebook, or that there's a really nasty media double standard when it comes to using politician's families as offensive weapons.

    I can't help but wonder if GayNZ would draw the line at outing the son of someone they consider to be an 'anti-gay' politician, if they were pointed to a profile on a gay site. After all, isn't the whole rationale of outing that it exposes hypocrisy etc.?

    I hope Gilmor is right and "we're all going to become a lot more forgiving". I just wonder if we're going to become just as ugly as we ever were, just in new ways to reflect new technology.

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

  • Julian Melville,

    You use 90210 too? :) I wonder what the apparent expat population of Beverley Hills is these days!

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 199 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Ugh. Writing crap on your Bebo page is so gay.

    I managed to sign up sign up for the Amazon music store using the 90210 hack and bought a Kanye West tune. Very nice. It's cool to be able to purchase in mp3 format.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    If you feel like it, TX 77530 or 77019 can be used too. Or La. 71369. Dirty South, represent!

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

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Ugh. Writing crap on your Bebo page is so gay.

    Heh... I can just see you as the Mother from Hell. :)

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

  • Hadyn Green,

    If you feel like it, TX 77530 or 77019 can be used too. Or La. 71369. Dirty South, represent!

    I used a Manhattan address when I signed up to Pandora. It asked for a zip code and I thought, "where do I want to live?"

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    I'd be more inclined to give sock cons the time
    of day over this one if SPCS hadn't attacked
    Chris Carter and Peter Kaiser on their webpage,
    or if Investigrunt hadn't tried to gaybait Peter
    Davis last year.

    And as for the angle of parental responsibility,
    I'm coparent of a fifteen year old daughter. If
    she ever pulled a stunt like this, I'd impose disciplinary
    sanctions, acknowledge what had happened, and
    apologise to the community attacked.

    Craig

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 567 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    If my 14 year old posted comments like that I'd certainly be doing a bit of serious talking to him as well. But would I tell the world about it? No way in hell. I'd die in a ditch before I would publicly condemn my 14 child no matter what he/she said. Thats what family means, FFS.

    A 14 year old is barely out of childhood. Shame on us all that the online musings of an immature youth attracts even the slightest bit of passing interest. We are the adults - so let us exercise some adult judgment as to the value and newsworthyness of this issue.

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

  • kmont,

    I'd die in a ditch before I would publicly condemn my 14 child no matter what he/she said. Thats what family means, FFS.

    Exactly.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Stevens,

    You know, I got a bad feeling when I saw this story going up.

    14 year olds are still kids, and they do say and do a lot of really dumb things, and while their parents might like to think they set the tone for them, their peers have a lot more influence.

    Yes his comments were nasty, spiteful and stupid, but he's a child.

    Trying to use the logic that his comments somehow represent his father's view is just stretching the logic way too far.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 230 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I thought this was pretty low.

    I know I thought and said things at 14 that my parents would have strongly disapproved of, but even if they had known, how would they have stopped me?

    Like Tom, I expect that English Jr should be getting a drastic and rapid parental response - in private.

    Bill English declared himself entirely responsible for his children's moral education. Some inspection of that moral education does therefore seem appropriate.

    Doesn't wash with me. I don't think a 14 year old's ravings give much insight into the parent's moral education.

    Also, I'm not sure that "I'm responsible for X" is the same thing as "I claim to be good at X."

    This is yet another case where "the public interest" and "what the public is interested in" are badly confused.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I'd die in a ditch before I would publicly condemn my 14 child no matter what he/she said. Thats what family means, FFS.

    Well, I must be a shit parent too, because I disagree. Would I take the issue public if it wasn't already? Nope. But this wasn't done in private. (I'm not actually saying that this particular case is black-and-white because geez, how many non-homophobic kids have said 'UR so GAy LOL'.) But if we were talking really serious public abuse of a particular minority group, damn straight they'd have to apologise as publicly as they delivered the insult. Then we could send them to a few of those remedial Big Gay Outs.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I just set up an account when prompted. It didn't have a New Zealand option for the address (I used CA 90210) but they were happy to take my card and deliver the bits.

    Luke Perry and Shannon Doherty are currently very excited to be receiving your tunes. Brian Austen Green is apparently mocking your taste in music however.

    I'd die in a ditch before I would publicly condemn my 14 child no matter what he/she said. Thats what family means, FFS.

    Hear hear. "Is gay-bashing appropriate?" Absolutely not. "What will you be doing to your son Mr English?" None of your damn business.

    And seriously, "teenagers not yet mature enough to not be homophobic". It's sad that the world is still that way, but again, not news!

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    "What will you be doing to your son Mr English?"

    I never thought that I'd be the type of person who'd be all "WHERE ARE THE PARENTS?????" but here I'd have to say "What are you doing to your son, Mr English, that might have influenced him to think that way?"

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And as for the angle of parental responsibility, I'm coparent of a fifteen year old daughter. If she ever pulled a stunt like this, I'd impose disciplinary sanctions, acknowledge what had happened, and
    apologise to the community attacked.

    On my own account, I don't accept third-party apologies full stop - and when it comes to being a good role model in an extended family (Big Gay Eccentric 'Uncle' Division) I'd rather see children and teenagers show a genuine sense of moral reasoning and growth that most people would call 'growing up'. In my book, blurting a superficial and insincere 'sorry' doesn't count, especially when it's prompted by me giving them industrial-strength stink eye.

    For once, I agree with TomS. I wouldn't go out of my way to annoy Bill or Mary, and I'm pretty confident that wee Rory has been read the riot act in full Dolby stereo - in private. Don't really see anything worthwhile being achieved by his ritual public humiliation - unless it's his father you're really after.

    And, Craig, with all due respect when you're citing Insinuate Magazine and the Society for the Promotion of Cretinous Puritanism to defend the story, then you've just shown how worthless it is. Playing Ian Wishart's game by his rules is no way to claim the moral high ground.

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

  • Don Christie,

    Another way to look at it is this: If you didn't do or say anything when you were 14 that now makes you want to jump in a time machine and bitch-slap yourself, you're either a saint or a liar.

    Absolutely. But the attacks on GayNZ by Key and English are equally reprehensible, If folks don't stand up to these sort of comments, made in a very public way, how on earth are 14 year olds ever going to learn what is acceptable and what is not?

    Seems like GayNZ did enough to alert English of the issue and held back from rushing to press, for all the reasons given already on this thread.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    but here I'd have to say "What are you doing to your son, Mr English, that might have influenced him to think that way?"

    I would go that far at all. For one thing, whilst it is fashionable to despise our politicians they sacrifice a lot on our behalf and perhaps family influence is one of those sacrifices we overlook (e.g. read Nelson Mandela's autobiography).

    For another, the boy lives in Southland :-)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

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