Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Poor Choices

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  • Russell Brown,

    Christ. Herald sportswriter Dana Johansen on the evil abuse she's been receiving for doing her job.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle MacDonald,

    The big problem for me about even trying to think about online bullying is who gets to defines what is bullying. As you rightly point out the response to DHC was pretty unpleasant, and from engaging in some of those conversations on twitter and FB it's clear that a number of those people don't think it's bullying, because they are *right*.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • tony j ricketts,

    I probably live a protected life, as until this week I knew nothing about Charlotte Dawson. What I do know is from Public Address, and from people on Daily Blog. I'm lucky to be male, and not famous.

    I'd also like to agree most strongly with "Suggested update on Golden Rule: Treat others the way you would like to be treated – if you were having the kind of day they’re having."

    A bit of empathy will really help, and we may need to work hard to do that. I'd also recommend trying to emulate Russell's ability to convincingly acknowledge when he fucks up, there are a lot of 'apologies' around that fail to convince the way he can.

    wellington • Since Aug 2012 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    All agreed. I didn't get a sense of maliciousness from Hill Cone's remarks either - poorly expressed, very poorly timed, and yes, too much self-projection.

    As for golden rules, I think "be kind to each other" is a good one too. I'm fortunate that I default to ascribing the best possible motives to others by default, even when I disagree with them.

    Being the unevolved person I am, though, I do want to unleash the hounds of Hades pretty quickly if I feel that my respect and tolerance are having the piss taken out of them. But I try for kindness first.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Kyle MacDonald,

    The big problem for me about even trying to think about online bullying is who gets to defines what is bullying.

    You know what, if you’re demeaning Gerry Brownlee or Meteria Turei because of their weight or where they buy their clothes instead of their policies?

    You’re bullying.

    If your response to getting called out on your homophobic slurs is to throw yourself a five-and-a-half thousand word pity party rather than accept any ownership for your own actions and their consequences? {ETA: Serious trigger warning - link contains a lot of homophobic/transphobic slurs I hope anyone with a shred of decency would find offensive.}

    You’re a bully, and a remarkably obtuse one at that.

    If you’re telling a woman whose social media has been spammed with rape threats and hardcore pornography to “harden up” because that’s what she should expect for daring to express an unpopular opinion?

    You’re a bully, and I don’t even want to get started on whatever other issues you have.

    Here’s the question I have: Is on-line bullying really that hard to see? Or do the people who want to make it so have their own agenda, and bully privilege to protect, in muddying the waters?

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

  • steven crawford,

    Bugger the golden rule. People don't all have the same needs. Some people need to be treated differently than others. Some people even demand to be treated extra specialy and some people deserve extra special consideration. But most of us get along nicely.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    If your response to getting called out on your homophobic slurs is to throw yourself a five-and-a-thousand word pity party rather than accept any ownership for your own actions and their consequences?

    You’re a bully, and a remarkably obtuse one at that.

    Except he says he didn’t say that. And even if he did, in the midst of a kind of vile, disturbing invasion of privacy none of us will ever have to deal with, does it make sense to keep on convicting him over and over, ignoring anything else he does or says in his actual life? Can you not see what’s wrong with that?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    I think Deborah Hill Cone's piece could have been ok if she acknowledged getting triggered by Charlotte Dawson's suicide and then stayed talking about her own experience of aging, its a very valid topic . But she just kept coming back to talking to the ghost of Charlotte , trying to do a Hamlet , almost hiding behind her and in the process her story lost its potency.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Richard Aston,

    if she acknowledged getting triggered by Charlotte Dawson’s suicide and then stayed talking about her own experience of aging, its a very valid topic

    This. Which brings me back to something someone (possibly Lilith, I can't remember) said on Twitter: don't use someone else's death to make your point.

    I've poked and poked at this idea, because it can't possibly be that simple and there must be a whole bunch of exceptions, but it stands up pretty well.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    It seems for many people there is a weird disconnect between their selves and their online selves. They just say shit they would never dream of saying to someone's face. Anonymity is maybe to blame but its like that thing when some people get drunk and say awful shit to others .. duh sorry I was drunk.
    Was it really them that said that shit ? Of course it was but they hid their dark shadow self behind alcohol, anonymity or another person's failings.

    Empathy, the call to kindness or at least "don't be evil" is all we have really.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    {ETA: Serious trigger warning – link contains a lot of homophobic/transphobic slurs I hope anyone with a shred of decency would find offensive.}

    Really? Reading the words "faggot" (which Baldwin insists he didn't say) and "vicious little queen" (which he admits calling a Daily Mail reporter who lied about his wife) is "seriously triggering"?

    Baldwin's clearly a bit of a dick, but I also sympathise with him over the degree of media intrusion on his private life, and for the kind of pile-on he's been subject to. One could be forgiven for thinking he's the worst person in the world.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Richard Aston,

    It seems for many people there is a weird disconnect between their selves and their online selves. They just say shit they would never dream of saying to someone’s face.

    Jonathan Milne's "meet the bloggers" story in Sunday's HoS annoyed me for the way it normalised that behaviour in the cases of Whaleoil and Bradbury.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Luke Williamson,

    Charlotte's biggest 'public' problem was to be addicted to attention, in the form of having to be on TV and in magazines, while at the same time being petrified of it and then blaming others, e.g. New Zealand, for not loving her enough. It's little wonder she was misunderstood and very sad that it couldn't be reconciled for her in some way that avoided such a sad ending.

    Warkworth • Since Oct 2007 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And even if he did, in the midst of a kind of vile, disturbing invasion of privacy none of us will ever have to deal with, does it make sense to keep on convicting him over and and over, ignoring anything else he does or says in his actual life?

    It's funny how a lot of people who've had their privacy violated even more egregiously than Alec Baldwin -- i.e. every 'celebrity' who gave testimony to the Leveson Inquiry -- managed to do so without expecting a lifetime pass for their bad behaviour. There is a serious conversation to be had about privacy and perv media culture, but that wasn't much of a contribution to it. I'd rather hear from Ellen Page, myself, whose coming out to a room full of GLBTI youth workers was pointed, thoughtful and delightfully grown-up

    And I'm sure Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow and Andrew Sullivan will be delighted to know they're part of a 'Gay Department of Justice' who can get a low-rating, critically derided talk show cancelled with a flick of their poison pens. If that's the Gay Media Mafia in action, they're pretty feeble.

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

  • Richard Aston, in reply to Emma Hart,

    don’t use someone else’s death to make your point.

    Yup that stands well Emma , in my experience of other people's deaths there are many gifts, cause for reflection, retrospection and just good old grief in all its teary glory but to make a point... yeah nah.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    A few random thoughts.

    First, there are some genuinely bad people out there.

    Second, celebrity culture is about performance of a role, the role of oneself. Public figures' personas are artificial constructions, collaboratively made by many players. This was already problematic in traditional media's heyday, when people could be hounded to death in the press, and is much more so when people can directly address hate towards a public figure, who is unreal to them as a person, and hit the real person as a target.

    I feel there's some evidence for this second idea of mine. I had an interesting talk the other day with someone who handles all the complaints that come through her firm's generic support email address. Some are vitriolic obscenities. She told me how she responded politely and helpfully to each one, and that very many of the people who sent nastygrams would then respond with an apology -- they had felt they were shouting into the ether and had never expected a real person to talk to.

    So: some people are evil and mean, and some are thoughtless and mean. Not too sure how to deal with that. Especially since one piece of thoughtless meanness can be amplified way beyond the originator's intent if other people run with it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Marion Ogier,

    Based on my experience in Christchurch post quakes it is very easy to find a congregation of angry and shouty people on social media. My experience was that at first I felt validated in my anger and dstress at what was happening but then I felt unsafe as if my anger was being ramped up by others - not a good space. So I try to avoid all the comments or following Twitter & FB accounts where this can happen. Better for my mental health. And these people were not down at the full on troll level so heaven knows what that is doing to people who read and create this horrible stuff.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2010 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    Bad timing for Metro. In the latest issue Duncan Greive has a dig at Charlotte Dawson's advice to Lorde. Must've gone to the printers late last week, presumably.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 759 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Emma Hart,

    This. Which brings me back to something someone (possibly Lilith, I can’t remember) said on Twitter: don’t use someone else’s death to make your point.

    There was also a rather great Tweet following the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman:

    When tragedy occurs, it's best not to look at the life of the victim like a Choose Your Own Adventure book you could have navigated better.

    Bloody oath. It was creepy seeing people on line who just could have lived Hoffman's life so much better than him, who knew what was in his heart and mind that day, who called him a "loser" and "a selfish asshole" for being an addict at all. Which I'm sure was such a great comfort to his actual friends and family trying to work through their own emotional shitstorm of grief.

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

  • Nik Dirga,

    There's been a real race to the bottom overall on coverage of this. There's some media's bizarre reluctance to actually use the word "suicide" (sorry, I don't think this helps the discussion one bit, and I'd really like to hear some defences of NOT saying suicide when someone does it and resorting to bizarre euphemisms like "the police said the death was not suspicious".).

    And then DHC's bizarre take on it (she died because she feared age, you see - or her brand fading, not sure which). And the hilarious irony of seeing revolting twitter trolls then turn on DHC with much of the same language and abuse that Dawson herself faced - it's enough to turn one's head about. Nobody has looked good during this, really.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    It’s funny how a lot of people who’ve had their privacy violated even more egregiously than Alec Baldwin – i.e. every ‘celebrity’ who gave testimony to the Leveson Inquiry – managed to do so without expecting a lifetime pass for their bad behaviour.

    Yeah, maybe they're just better people. Although we don't, of course, know what they might have said or done in private.

    Baldwin's outbursts were worse than than he indicates in his column. But he did actually apologise. It's the constant piling on -- and Sullivan's demand that other gay media people join him in denouncing Baldwin -- with which I feel a bit uncomfortable.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Nik Dirga,

    Some of the responses to Goldberg's essay really did prove her point too. She was immediately vilified and demonised.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Emma Hart,

    don't use someone else's death to make your point.

    I've poked and poked at this idea, because it can't possibly be that simple and there must be a whole bunch of exceptions, but it stands up pretty well.

    I think the only possible exception would be a public safety campaign, where someone's death really is the ultimate demonstration of a "xyz behaviour is dangerous" message.
    For personal points, though, it's probably a pretty consistent rule.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Kyle MacDonald,

    it's clear that a number of those people don't think it's bullying, because they are *right*.

    In a fricking nutshell.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Barnard,

    Certainly one problem is the tendency for online debate to be reduced to a kind of moral policing, in which what's said isn't challenged but merely condemned along with whoever has said it.

    Can't remember the last time I saw a response along the lines of 'What did you mean by X,as it appears to suggest Y & I'd have a problem with that'. Almost always there's instant judgement (On the worst assumption possible) & an attack on the speaker & their right to speak.

    It's not helped by the implication speech = harm & the answer isn't more speech but to condem & attack the person for having spoken at all & suggest their only response should be silence.

    Debate (which I now gather in certain circles is 'problematic' in itself) is replaced with hounding people for expressing a view which falls foul of certain people's idea of what can & can't be said.

    I

    Wellington • Since Nov 2012 • 72 posts Report Reply

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