Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Fix up, young men

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to raena,

    Yes, and some of us are trying to change things for the better, and some of us are sitting back on our heels and making out like it’s all some mysterious external force at work.

    I'm not and I'd be grateful if you could credit me with a little good faith. I didn't understand your one-line answer and thought you were referring to parenting. I think it's all the things you listed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Lilith __,

    Informed consent and other ethical principles could easily be taught (modelled might be a harder ask). Would help with healthy and respectful relationships generally.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to nzlemming,

    I agree, which is what irked me about the “something has changed” approach.The only thing that has “changed” is the boldness and frequency.

    That may well be what’s changed, yes. That doesn’t seem insignificant.

    Saying “it’s breaking our music festivals and we should be allowed to grieve” is some mighty privileged nonsense, to me at least. Not the real issue at all.

    Mark, I’d quote you what I actually wrote, but I’ve done so already. The main theme of the post was how offensive the very idea of declaring cultural events that are important to women off-limits for their own safety was. This one struck me particularly hard because I share the same cultural loves as Jean and her friends. I understand what it means to them, because it means that to me too. The idea of them not being able to be there breaks my heart.

    This is what Jean said:

    Music is one way to see beyond this and is why I love it so – moving and dancing to sound with masses of similar people can be so uplifting and so universal.

    Caring about the safety of your own cultural space is not to the exclusion of the broader problem, and I said that in the post. I realise that we’re coming from different places, but declaring the post we’re discussing “privileged nonsense” isn’t really fair.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to nzlemming,

    Sorry, folks. I should have put “Trigger Warning” on that vid. I do sincerely apologise. Russell, can you edit?

    Done.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Lilith __,

    Education about consent should be a part of the NZ school curriculum. That’s an obvious, concrete goal we could all have.

    One thing the Roastbusters business showed was that the schools involved failed badly to do that.

    A friend’s daughter was caught up on the edges of that scene, and it was a real mess of distorted perceptions of what was right and wrong. She and others were bullied and intimidated by girls close to the perpetrators to stay silent. The abysmal police investigation and the attempts by the schools to brush it under the carpet further validated and locked that in. It was bad in so, so many ways.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Manakura,

    straw poll: whom of the men on this thread regard te patriarchy and rape culture as an external problem, something Other People (men) do/perpetrate? and whom regard it as something both external and internal, that patriarchy is something that has been instilled in them, in ways they may or may not even see/understand, that it's inside their heads and the struggle starts there?
    i dunno if it's an exact analogue but decol 101 says the coloniser has reached inside of our minds and that is the place to start the work.

    also, my first music fest was mountain rock 1996. my best friend was raped there. every music festival i've ever been to - BDO, the gathering, splore, any genre, any crowd type - i have seen abuse, harassment and assault of women. when i was young and stupid i took part in it, other times i called it out. sometimes i behaved terribly against my friends. other times i leapt to their defence. i'm still close to some of my people from back then, others not so much. this shit aint new, but it is complicated.

    amongst all the other excellent tactics, strategies and suggestions (which the men here seem to be largely relying on the women to supply - this in itself is suggestive of something), i suggest this one: check yo'self. we (te mens) are all part of the problem, i think until you can admit that you can't really be part of the solution

    Whaingāroa • Since Nov 2006 • 134 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    That may well be what’s changed, yes. That doesn’t seem insignificant.

    What I'm getting at is that that's true of the much wider issue. It's not just cultural events - it's life in general.

    The main theme of the post was how offensive the very idea of declaring cultural events that are important to women off-limits for their own safety was.

    I acknowledge this, but the conversation has gone a lot wider than that. It's about women in homes, women in public, women at work - it's all the same problem. As a society, we don't value and respect women (individuals do, I know, before anyone gets their knickers in a twist). Not just kids, all of us. The kids are only acting out what is usually done in private. I agree with the thought that reality TV has a lot to do with how they see themselves, as performers, needing to go that bit further to shock and stand out. They get their cues from the likes of Paul Henry and Mike Hosking, who are continually in their faces on TV and other media. We celebrate shock jocks and their ratings-grabbing antics, we tolerate dickwad misogynistic "writers" like Du Fresne and Drinnan. It's *our* fault for not taking that stand and saying "It's not OK" (deliberate allusion)

    That's why returning to the cultural event stuff at this stage of the conversation seems like privileged nonsense to me, because you're not going to solve the problem by tighter enforcement of events, or writing an app or whatever - you're just going to put it out of your sight when you go to such things. The underlying condition is still there.

    This one struck me particularly hard because I share the same cultural loves as Jean and her friends. I understand what it means to them, because it means that to me too. The idea of them not being able to be there breaks my heart.

    Oh, me too. I do get that. But I also get the women on this thread who've said "it happened to me too" and "it's the same as it ever was" who do seem to have been ignored or challenged by a number of participants. And that's just victim-shaming.

    Caring about the safety of your own cultural space is not to the exclusion of the broader problem, and I said that in the post. I realise that we’re coming from different places, but declaring the post we’re discussing “privileged nonsense” isn’t really fair.

    I think I've covered this. I stand by my use of the term, because I wasn't just talking about the post, but the resulting conversation. I mean, we're on page 11 FFS.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Manakura,

    straw poll: whom of the men on this thread regard te patriarchy and rape culture as an external problem, something Other People (men) do/perpetrate? and whom regard it as something both external and internal, that patriarchy is something that has been instilled in them, in ways they may or may not even see/understand, that it's inside their heads and the struggle starts there?

    Yep, totally agree. I grew up with 6 strong women and married another and, even with that, I had to face that many of my assumptions were just stupid. Some still are. I also did many dumb things, fortunately stopping at the leaning out of cars and yelling abuse. I'm not proud of that, and sometimes wish I could go back and clip me around the ear. I didn't learn that stuff from my father, but I did absorb it from the society around me.

    I had to relearn my approach to women, my understanding of them and my role and responsibility in relation to them. Sometimes I still get it wrong but I try to put it right.

    we (te mens) are all part of the problem, i think until you can admit that you can't really be part of the solution

    This. So much this, and this is largely what I feel has been missing in this conversation so far.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I have a photo of the harasser and the two women with him, btw. They’re laughing. They really look like Young Nats.

    Of course they do, Russell. It's the cloven hooves and horns that give us away every damn time. I'm going to do you the respect of assuming you can figure out why that's not only a cheap and ugly shot, but not a particularly useful one.

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

  • Russell Brown, in reply to nzlemming,

    It’s *our* fault for not taking that stand and saying “It’s not OK” (deliberate allusion)

    I honestly appreciate what you’re saying, but isn’t that exactly what the promoter you dismissed was doing? And not just making a speech about it, but undertaking to do something concrete – to literally reject abusers. That’s why I was surprised when you were so scornful of the idea of more music people taking that kind of stand. Isn’t that how things change?

    The research on the It’s Not OK campaign is fascinating. It wasn’t just the extraordinary message recall, but the fact that so many of the people who were aware of the campaign took an action as a result – one in five!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Fair enough. Let's just say "posh kids".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Russell Brown,

    posh kids

    What they are is entitled brats. Belonging to the elite may reliably correlate and be causally connected with that outcome, but it’s not exactly the same thing.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1942 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Manakura,

    whom of the men on this thread regard te patriarchy and rape culture as an external problem, something Other People (men) do/perpetrate? and whom regard it as something both external and internal, that patriarchy is something that has been instilled in them, in ways they may or may not even see/understand, that it’s inside their heads and the struggle starts there?

    Kind of begging the question here, just in the way it's phrased. Obviously I think it's instilled and we fix from the inside out for the most part (and I already said that upthread). But that said, me sitting back in a concert fixing myself while some dickheads assault a woman in front of me is not helping as much as I maybe could. Some condemnation of Other People's Actions is also worthwhile at times.

    amongst all the other excellent tactics, strategies and suggestions (which the men here seem to be largely relying on the women to supply – this in itself is suggestive of something), i suggest this one: check yo’self.

    It's worth doing, but I don't think it's easy. We often don't notice our own flaws until they're pointed out. And that goes to the "relying on women to supply" - I'm hardly listening to women if I come up with all the answers to their problems myself. That can often just be me patronizing them. I'm particularly interested in what it is that women see as the more useful male contributions. I may have thought that I was helping by grabbing a douche by the scruff of the neck, when in fact it was much earlier in the evening when he was already an unwanted turd that I could have been helping more but I didn't get any useful pointers to that effect. Or maybe I said something that really did or really didn't help. Perhaps I could have just been less free with the alcohol rounds or something?

    I used to have a secret signal that an old girlfriend gave me when she was being harassed and needed help if we were out in public. It was used surprisingly often, and I could often not have picked it otherwise. She was being friendly because she was trying not to offend some aggressive shithead. Her body language was not screaming help. But the signal was flicking. I'd sidle over and just stand nearby. Usually the shithead would eventually piss off, thwarted in his sneaky creepering, but if not, I'd just strike up a conversation with him. That would generally work - he wasn't really there to talk to me, so he'd piss off. Occasionally he'd make something of it, picking up that I was "muscling in". But I don't recall any occasion where us simple moving away (with me in between) didn't work.

    Could friend groups use this? I know the answer is "probably not", because half the problem with creeps is that they're friends of friends. But girlfriend groups could use it, and if they think male help is necessary, they can get it. Obviously this scenario worked for my gf because I was a big strong guy. But any kind of help at all can be worth it when you're getting picked on. Even another girl just coming in for the rescue with an escape pretext is a start, although unless you intend to leave the venue, they can wait for you. But surely plans can be made in bathrooms - I always just assumed that's what powdering noses was all about.

    It's a suggestion, anyway. I can't see it helping much when a gang of people are already ripping off your clothes - that's a situation where the trouble already started much earlier. On that, I got nothing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Russell Brown,

    When the incident first erupted, the first thought that sprang to mind was the type of people who act with impunity, with the full knowledge that money and connections will simply buy them a good supply of get-out-of-jail-free cards. It ties in with the 'snob yob' thing I previously mentioned upthread.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Russell Brown,

    One thing the Roastbusters business showed was that the schools involved failed badly to do that.

    A friend’s daughter was caught up on the edges of that scene, and it was a real mess of distorted perceptions of what was right and wrong. She and others were bullied and intimidated by girls close to the perpetrators to stay silent. The abysmal police investigation and the attempts by the schools to brush it under the carpet further validated and locked that in. It was bad in so, so many ways.

    How close is it to Royal effing Commission material?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    Damn….

    ...to be honest - not original
    credit Dennis Nordern or Frank Muir for tht
    regularly recycled radio remembering ...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose
    Pre history ….60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and now into this century – nothing much changes for the good it seems.

    Social reinforcement of bad behaviour ( the evolution from Benny Hill to Two and a half men ) and access to ever more violent and depraved mainstream and pornographic material (and yes I am pointing the finger at aspects of the internet, computer games and other publishers) all act to dehumanise and desensitise.

    The only real change has been that what was once more covert is now belligerently overt and seemingly condoned by ‘authority’ – there do need to be consequences for a society to function – therefore confrontation.

    There were always exploiters in the music industry, they just tended to be in the band or management or on the radio and telly (operation Yew Tree, might shake some of the historical events into the light) – now more of the audience is following suit…

    People think they can get away with more these days, and there is less to stop them stopping themselves, let alone others – parents and schools can only do so much (and there is a lot to do), but if the classic role models behave badly (sportsmen, politicians, priests and other paragons – and media messages) then all the positive signal will be undermined and eroded.

    My old Sydenham school motto ‘Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you’ is a great social contract, but seems to have been subverted by bullies to read ‘do unto others before they do unto you’.

    People can change, and not just those that want to, but society has to largely mirror it.

    As to making venues safer – the message and reaction has to be more open – signs on doors to say bullying and intimidation of any sort will not be tolerated and people encouraged to report it and have it backed up when they do – consequences need to be fast and effective.

    It will take time, we may have lost a generation or two to the tidal rip of ‘market forces’ and bad judgement. Personal responsibility at all levels needs to prevail so all people can relax safely.

    to paraphrase Solomon Burke
    - if one of ‘us’ is abused none of of us are free.

    </another ‘old man’ clumsily pontificating, but trying to help>

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to linger,

    posh kids

    What they are is entitled brats. Belonging to the elite may reliably correlate and be causally connected with that outcome, but it’s not exactly the same thing.

    Granted.

    Anyway, I feel like I'm doing more than my part to make this a dude conversation, so I'll shut up for a while.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    dire log...

    I’m doing more than my part to make this a dude conversation, so I’ll shut up for a while.

    Isn't that a large part of the problem?
    Men don't talk - about many things, casually, deeply, or readily
    - that could change meaningfully.

    Practice makes 'perfect'.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Isn’t that a large part of the problem?

    I don't think "men not talking" is a particular problem in this thread.

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

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Danielle,

    I don’t think “men not talking” is a particular problem in this thread.

    just too make sure, as I can be pretty cloth-eared to tone at times, is the problem with 'this thread' then that men aren't listening?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to raena,

    You raised them.

    So all these delinquent, misogynist boys were "Raised" by solo Fathers?
    I think not, this is not just a case of blaming all men, we all have to look at ourselves.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • keeaa,

    While agreeing wholeheartedly with the original post by Russell, I was from the start uncomfortable with the "young" in the title.

    Perhaps the subsequent discussion would have had a different direction if the title and slant had just been "Fix up, men". Then again, perhaps not.

    Since Nov 2014 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • mpledger,

    I remember about 12ish years ago in Auckland when several women had been beaten up/raped in their homes during the day, during summer, and the police response was to tell women to not leave any doors or windows open in their homes when they were there ...

    The police honestly thought that women treating their homes like a prison cell was suitable advice.

    ~~~~~~~~~~
    I think this stuff happened always but it was more hidden, secret and sly and the women involved would be shamed into keeping it quiet.

    Three things I see that have changed - 1) women have been much more open about revealing their abuse and not allowing themselves to be shamed into silence or allow themselves to be demeaned by it, 2) American youth/young adult culture has infiltrated more into NZ and that has a more sexually aggressive edge and more of a culture of white male entittlement than NZ did i.e. that being rich makes people have greater social value - this is about he opposite of the old NZ values, and 3) the change in technology has meant there is less across age conversations but more within age conversations - and with it more posturing social interactions. The wise old men telling the young bucks to pull their oars in doesn't happen as often coupled with a social change to value "youthfullness" rather than value age acquired wisdom.

    Since Oct 2012 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Danielle,

    I don’t think “men not talking” is a particular problem in this thread.

    No, it's not – and I do have the self-awareness to realise that with the best of intentions I was doing some particularly dudey haggling over detail there.

    I've said enough for now and I'm busying myself elsewhere on the site, but I would observe that what makes a thread like this complicated is that we are all actually on the same side.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

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