Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: And a Pony. A Sparkly One.

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  • giovanni tiso,

    Where you wrote "Australia made me a political party" I equivocated and it took me another five paragraphs to realise you're not running for office across the ditch. Which is a pity - for them.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    You know you'd think that an Aussie Sex party would at least get the fingers the right way around ....

    The other week I commented that the Green Party was the only one (in my experience) who knew how to do the 'party' bit right, I wonder how these guys will do ....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2605 posts Report Reply

  • Roger,

    ...watching Senator Conroy's special Christmas train-smash closely

    It is always comforting to look over the fence and see that it is browner on the other side!

    Hamilton • Since Jun 2007 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    I'm confused....

    I know of the male sex.

    I know of the female sex.

    Who or what is the australian sex? I got taught from a fairly early age there was only two to choose from?

    Obviously, my sex education has been lacking...

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 887 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Where you wrote "Australia made me a political party" I equivocated and it took me another five paragraphs to realise you're not running for office across the ditch. Which is a pity - for them.

    Aren't you lovely. Here, have a pony.

    I wonder how far I could get on a platform of 'not being Pauline Hanson'.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Who or what is the australian sex?

    You know how those koalas are all getting penecillin shots? Ahem.

    Actually, now's the time for my legendary Australian chat up joke:

    Bloke "Hey Sheila, yawannafuck?"
    Sheila "I do now, y'smooth talkin bastard."

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    I'm really disappointed. It's been two hours, you've got a post involving gay marriage, and Craig's totally absent. Paging Mr Ranapia...

    On a more serious note, though, one must hope that National take the same pragmatic view of a national internet filter as Labour did. Namely, it's not being considered. Our intarweb is slow enough as it is, without imposing even more of a throttle by passing everything through filtering appliances. A performance hit is inevitable, and unavoidable, in such circumstances.

    Australia's antics with the filtering reminds me of this UserFriendly strip. They seem to enjoy being viewed as the global village idiot, given their propensity for making boneheaded decisions about protecting the children from the internet.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    Hasn't anyone tried anything like this before? I don't mean in quite such a flamboyant sort of way, but explicitly (sorry) going head to head with the social conservatives as a political party?

    Even the Greens are a bit shy of the social liberalism causes listed above, in NZ. Maybe the Values Party had different things to say in its time - free love was a bigger cause back then, rather than something people just got on with.

    But it makes sense to fill that niche, especially in Australia's preferential system that shuts out the small parties, but incentivises the big parties to campaign for the small party supporters' second preferences.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Maybe the Values Party had different things to say in its time - free love was a bigger cause back then, rather than something people just got on with.

    I was a bit young when my mother was involved with Values. I remember communes and growing your own veggies - maybe we are going around in a circle.

    You need a certain combination of things, I think, to get a party like this. Won't happen here under current circumstances, because the social conservatives haven't been strong enough. And yeah, Australia's voting system means it's worth setting up a small party.

    I don't think we're as open and liberal about sex as we like to think we are, either. Vanilla privilege (one NSFW picture) is still going pretty strong.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    I don't think we're as open and liberal about sex as we like to think we are, either.

    I didn't realise we thought we were, to be honest. As a country we fuck like rabbits, but heaven forbid that we dare talk about it (except when Durex puts out their international sex survey results) in public.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    That whole vanilla privilege thing is giving me a lot to think about because there are a bunch of sexual and lifestyle (for want of a better term) practices that I am profoundly uncomfortable with for reasons that feel very valid but may also be built on just not getting it.

    I understand about bedroom role-play and exploring the line between pleasure and pain but when it gets to getting off on really hurting someone or where whole relationships are unequal or based on a concept of control or ownership I just can't feel good about that.

    There's a lot that the sex party is promoting that I could get right behind but I'm trying to picture the conversation I'd have telling my mum I was voting for them. Or worse her telling me she was voting sex.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    That whole vanilla privilege thing is giving me a lot to think about because there are a bunch of sexual and lifestyle (for want of a better term) practices that I am profoundly uncomfortable with for reasons that feel very valid but may also be built on just not getting it.

    I do have some of my own. I'm perfectly happy, for instance, with BDSM that's Safe Sane and Consensual, and okay with RACK, but I have real reservations about Total Power Exchange. They're to do with safety and genuine consent, though, not squick.

    I guess what really bothers me about vanilla privilege is not just the change in atttitude to a person when you discover what they're 'into', but also the refusal to believe that they know what they like, this patronising view that they're deluded or brainwashed.

    I don't think we're as open and liberal about sex as we like to think we are, either.

    I didn't realise we thought we were, to be honest.

    I was sort of referring to B's comment about 'just getting on with it' in reference to free love. So perhaps a belief that 'we're better than we were' becoming 'we're okay now'. I don't for a second think NZ is a society that's accepting of alternative sexualities. We even make immigrants divorce down to the correct number of spouses.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers,

    The problems I see are the secret lists. That means no accountability. Not good.

    So will hidemyass.com and other proxy servers also be blacklisted? Or can anyone use these to bypass the government-ordained filters?

    How long before we see something like in New Zealand?

    How far do we allow one group to foist its idea of morality on the rest of us or on some minority they disapprove of?

    Absolutely DO prosecute people for storing and distributing illegal material.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    Just getting on with it, to me, means it's receded from the political environment - it's a matter of personal choice (up to a point), and while there's plenty of informal judgement about what people are into, there's less of things like "mixed flatting" being a public issue that anyone talks about banning.

    Where our personal lives intersect with the state, we can still find examples of private life being used to deny access. Marriage, court proceedings, licence applications, custody battles, adoption, immigration (really? is that about how many spouses they can bring on family reunification?) - there's plenty of scope for the private to be interfered with by the public there.

    There's also scope for the state to cut across private judgement, to punish discrimination on the basis of family status, gender identity, and so on.

    There's ongoing battles on both fronts, but while there's a lot of co-ordination and commonality on the social conservative side, there's not so much on the liberal side. You've got the Prostitutes Collective, various proponents of marriage equality, feminists, health groups, and hotbeds of liberality like PA, not to mention Steve Crow et al, but it's more like an accidental alliance, with whoever's in the firing line taking the lead on a particular issue, and sometimes outright conflict between them. There's no equivalent to Family First/Kiwi Party/Destiny/Maxim on the liberal side. Perhaps that's inevitable given that liberalism is a bigger and more diverse movement.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    How long before we see something like in New Zealand?

    According to David Cunliffe Labour had no plans to investigate such a thing. I imagine Act'd get all kinds of pissy if National were to try and change that position, too, so we're probably safe.
    Never thought I'd be glad that Act's in government.

    On a related note, my flatmate wondered last night how long it'll be before Maurice takes his minister-outside-cabinet toys and skulks off to Act's sandpit. Anyone care to give odds?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Ngaruna Kapinga,

    ...but there's no policy on their website

    Certainly nothing even remotely sexy about this website, looks more like DHL or Express Couriers - pony anyone?

    Wellington • Since May 2008 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    The vanilla privilege thing... I don't know. Isn't it just another way of segmenting others? Sex, religion, race, class and politics (not to mention football, in some countries) have always been ways to identify and characterise, often with the conscious or subconscious intent of "othering", to borrow the verb from the post you linked to. I'll freely admit to changing my way of looking at somebody if I find out that they vote National, or that they're religious. I'm not saying I consciously ostracise them, or think less of them, but I sure am tempted and I can almost hear a little switch click in the old brain at the moment of realisation.

    We strive for our society to be more inclusive and tolerant, less disriminating in its institutions. But it's not as if non-vanilla sexual practices are illegal, are they? Nor is practicing the muslim religion. It just puts you in another box. We strive to get rid of the boxes, to judge people on the content of their character as opposed to the contents of, say, the third drawer from the top of their bedroom dresser, but it's a process, it takes time. In the meantime I think this idea that people who are into S&M are somehow pariahs... I can't see it. It may be true, but I just haven't come across it.

    And Emma... could you try in the future to write posts that don't stick in my brain for hours on end? I've got work to do, you know.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Ngaruna Kapinga,

    Bloke "Hey Sheila, yawannafuck?"

    All class those Aussie fella's.

    Wellington • Since May 2008 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Ngaruna Kapinga,

    There are so many jokes so deeply inherent in just the name that it's almost too easy

    Emma, I commend you on your diplomacy and restraint - certainly couldn't have done the same myself - far far far too easy.

    I wonder though, had it been the other way round 'the NZ Sex Party' whether our Aussie counterparts would have been as tactful?

    Wellington • Since May 2008 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Certainly nothing even remotely sexy about this website, looks more like DHL or Express Couriers - pony anyone?

    Also, in this picture, does Patten remind anyone else of Deborah Coddington? Or do I just need a whole bunch of therapy?

    The problems I see are the secret lists. That means no accountability. Not good.

    Well, the problem with making the lists public is the idea that then paedophiles could use them as shopping lists for child pornography. This assumes they don't already know where to find child pornography, and that the entire content of the list is paedophilia-related, which it isn't. But I do see the validity of that argument.

    The vanilla privilege thing... I don't know. Isn't it just another way of segmenting others?

    Yes, it is. I think vanilla privilege, though, is one area of privilege where people who have it still aren't actually aware that it exists.

    But it's not as if non-vanilla sexual practices are illegal, are they? Nor is practicing the muslim religion. It just puts you in another box.

    Well, it's not illegal to be a practising Rasta, but it is illegal to smoke marijuana. And it's not illegal to be a Mormon, but it is illegal to have more than one spouse. Except in Britain it's not illegal to practise BDSM, but you can see from the links in Ren's piece how the legal system treats practitioners differently, so their sexual predilections become a defence in cases of rape and even murder. So it's more than just not wanting to invite the people next door to dinner when you find out they're swingers.

    And Emma... could you try in the future to write posts that don't stick in my brain for hours on end? I've got work to do, you know.

    *places tick next to Giovanni's name*

    On the positive side, my daughter came home yesterday and told us how her teacher had spent some time explaining to them the difference between a transvestite and a transsexual. Since a change of principal last year, the kids are now receiving Family Planning's sexual education program, and it's been great. A pity there's not some kind of, y'know, compulsory national sex education program...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    immigration (really? is that about how many spouses they can bring on family reunification?)

    This was something I picked up on while listening to National Radio in the car, which isn't always best for details. They were interviewing a woman who works with Malaysian immigrants in Auckland. It sounded like they'd been allowed to bring all their spouses in, and then after immigration were being asked to pick one wife, and ditch the rest. They could still all live together and everything, but the law says, just the one spouse/civil union partner.

    I found this hugely distasteful. People entering into a polygamous relationship in Malaysia receive mandatory and extensive counselling first. Now they're being asked to say which one is their 'proper' wife - with all the loss of benefits and legal status for the discarded spouses that entails.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Emma, I commend you on your diplomacy and restraint - certainly couldn't have done the same myself - far far far too easy.

    Thanks, Ngaruna. That may be the first time I've ever received that particular compliment.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Ngaruna Kapinga,

    Also, in this picture, does Patten remind anyone else of Deborah Coddington? Or do I just need a whole bunch of therapy?

    A cunning disguise for the pony perhaps?

    A pity there's not some kind of, y'know, compulsory national sex education program...

    My 13yr old son and similarly aged nephew were privy to part of a sex ed class at their Nan's work. Conversation on the way home in the car went something like this....

    Son: Mum, do you know what chlamydia is?
    Nephew: and gon-gon-gondola-gon-gon
    Me: Gonorrhea?
    Nephew: yeh that’s the one Aunty
    Me: They’re STD’s
    Both Boys: you mean STI’s Sexually Transmitted Infections
    Me: Quite right
    Son: So how do you NOT get them?
    Me: You practice safe sex and you use condoms etc etc
    Son: …you wear a condom all the time?
    Me: Yes all the time...
    Son: So how do you make babies then???

    …smart arse!

    Wellington • Since May 2008 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Well, it's not illegal to be a practising Rasta, but it is illegal to smoke marijuana. And it's not illegal to be a Mormon, but it is illegal to have more than one spouse.

    Yeah, and I'm fine with that. The day we start making special laws that allow people to do stuff others can do just because of their religion, I'll leave this merry country in a dinghy. I'm open to legalising marijuana and making marriage illegal regardless of the number of spouses, but let's not make special cases.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Yeah, and I'm fine with that. The day we start making special laws that allow people to do stuff others can do just because of their religion, I'll leave this merry country in a dinghy. I'm open to legalising marijuana and making marriage illegal regardless of the number of spouses, but let's not make special cases.

    It's a dinghy with a motor, right? Because I'm with you on that, but I'm so not rowing. I was just trying to point out that you can make something very difficult without actually banning it. Like in Alabama (I think it was Alabama) at the most recent election, where they couldn't ban gays from adopting, so they passed a proposition restricting adoption to married couples.

    I should also point out that the Sex Party now has policy on their policy page. They're advocating a referendum on mandatory equal numbers of women in the Senate and State Upper Houses.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

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