Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Poor Choices

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  • ChrisW, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    Also, NZ is a post-Christian culture and Christianity has taught that suicide is a sin for 2000 years.

    More than just a sin.
    The habitual and almost invariable pairing of 'commit* suicide' conveys the historical condemnation that’s embedded in the language – alongside homicide, patricide, infanticide – 'with intent to commit a crime' …

    So in this case it’s good to see the occasional (but increasing?) use of the noun as a simple verb – ‘to suicide’ – an appropriate expression of its reflexive nature, a neutral descriptor of the action.
    It might even make it easier to talk and write about it.

    Gisborne • Since Apr 2009 • 851 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    On Peter Williams' lying:

    "This led him to believe, incorrectly, that the item was intended to be comic."

    And then there's this logical absurdity: "Williams personally apologised to the network's viewers through TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick."

    Oh fuck.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Cottrell, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    One reason for the judgement is that some suicides are self obsessed and even selfish acts. Sometimes the things left behind cause a great deal of harm to those living. In those cases, yeah there is some judgypants going on.

    I think that it's difficult to realise that many people who commit suicide are self-obsessed because one part of depression is extreme self-absorption. It's a little like narcissism in that you can't think of anyone but yourself only instead of thinking you are brilliant you think everything about you is hideous. It takes up a lot of mental energy, hating yourself that much.

    *TW: explicit discussion of suicide*
    The only suicides I consider selfish are the ones which basically make someone else kill you. Train jumpers, death-by-cop.

    Since Feb 2014 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Grimshaw effectively lecturing David Herkt for not settling down and starting a family, on the other hand, is just silly.

    What the fuck? That's a whole lot of rich coming from someone who has taken a lot of very public exception to being patronized her as a smarmy Remmers yummy-mummy, with a law degree and an (in)famous Daddy, who has made a career out of over-sharing her first world problems.

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

  • nzlemming, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    But also I think there is an element of, “if I can judge this person as weak/defective/wrong/selfish/whatever then I can kid myself that I could never be in that state of mind myself”.

    With a side order of guilt that "I didn't do more because I didn't know"

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Jack Cottrell,

    *TW: explicit discussion of suicide*
    The only suicides I consider selfish are the ones which basically make someone else kill you. Train jumpers, death-by-cop.

    Let's not go there at all, please. BTW, Jack, my partner was a train driver when a woman threw herself in front of his train many years ago and is coming up on his 50th year working in the industry. Any rail-related fatality is dreadful for a lot of people, and can have profound and long-lasting effects. We can respect that without getting into shaming value-judgements of anyone.

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

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kracklite,

    On Peter Williams’ lying:

    Am I alone in not being particularly outraged by this? I find it entirely plausible that poor old Pete got -- or was given -- the wrong end of the stick. But it is an example of the way every move turns into a pratfall for TVNZ at the moment.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I don't know if you're alone or not, and being a Scot who can see the funny side of Kafka, listens to Shostakovch and with best friends who are Hungarian and Czech, my sense of humour is not black but fuligin... and still I think that there's no way that Williams could have mistaken the tone of his show. Common decency and basic human empathy should at least have been his guides.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Cottrell, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Will refrain from going there, save explaining that I'm judging the action, not the person, motive, or outcome.

    Since Feb 2014 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Live-tweeting a parent's death.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    One reason for the judgement is that some suicides are self obsessed and even selfish acts. Sometimes the things left behind cause a great deal of harm to those living. In those cases, yeah there is some judgypants going on.

    OK, and I can respect that framing if that’s what some survivors need to do when working through grief. But what’s not useful or acceptable: People who assume that a newspaper column, or an internet connection, gives then standing to shit on complete strangers as weak-willed narcissistic arseholes because they suffer from depression, or self-harm, or are addicts (have we forgotten Philip Seymour Hoffman already?)

    The dead are beyond caring or harm when you decide to model the new season “judgypants”. But it would show a lot of empathy (and common human decency) if everyone thought harder about who’s listening when mental illness and self-harm are treated like they're the result of a lack of dietary moral fibre.

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

  • Morgan Nichol, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    We can respect that without getting into shaming value-judgements of anyone.

    Everyone judges everything and some people do shameful things. I will shame and judge as I see fit. And I see you do the same quite often. However usually I don't see suicide as shameful. Or if they are shameful then only in the sense that it's a terrible shame some other option didn't do the trick.

    Some suicides though are shameful. Murder suicides, lads who won't let a woman leave them and decide it's better that "no one can have her if I can't have her". And everything's on a continuum around that.

    Let's not pretend this isn't the case.

    Auckland CBD • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Jack Cottrell,

    in that you can’t think of anyone but yourself

    Yup. Been there done that. Literally could not think beyond the boundaries of my head.

    However, while that explains why the act is self absorbed it does not excuse the impact it has on others. In that sense it can be selfish. Sometimes.

    I'm not saying that there aren't good psychological and even physiological reasons for that state nor suggesting society can dismiss any responsibility. Just noting that there are cases where the harm done to those still alive is real and significant and hence their (judgmental) reaction is understandable and even with some empathy excusable.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Virginia Brooks,

    I like something she wrote in an earlier column - an observation on the 'Just world phenomenon' : the tendency of some people (often right wingers) to believe that the world is just and therefore people get what they deserve.
    For a 'just world' theorist, some one who makes (sniff) 'inappropriate life choices' gets what they deserve.

    Isn't it just a euphemism for Social Darwinism?

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

  • Will de Cleene, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I know this is hipster blasphemy, but basically everything Hunter S. Thompson published after 1980 was embarrasing.

    The dividing line appeared to me to be when HST missed the Rumble in the Jungle. He never seemed to forgive himself for that. He became a self-parody of sorts, throwing in the words atavistic, preternatural and fiend into his prose and passing it off as the good stuff. Poor bastard.

    Raumati • Since Jul 2011 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Deborah Hill Cone fronts about her column. Fair enough.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    Snap :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Fair enough.

    Let down by her editors perhaps...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7892 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX,

    Strange times indeed - everyone "is" and becomes "news".

    It is good to turn the whole social media thing off and get on with the business ofl living - you get more done.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • Virginia Brooks, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Isn’t it just a euphemism for Social Darwinism?

    Very closely related. But social Darwinism is out and proud, politically aware and waving the flag for eugenics. Whereas 'Just world theory' is more like a meme that lurks insidiously and denies political reality. It thrives on tautology, therefore ' the world is just because the world is just'. It pounces when you least expect it. For example, when someone told me over xmas dinner that poverty in NZ is caused by poor people themselves because they are stupid.

    Re being 'very closely related' its possibly a case of incest but social Darwinism will never admit it (Just world theory just smiles coyly).

    Since Jun 2008 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • Nik Dirga,

    Noticed that DHC's column seemed to have disappeared entirely from the Herald of late.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 24 posts Report Reply

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