Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: One Million Tunes

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  • Stephen Judd,

    From the GayNZ story: " and continues to do so with his father's knowledge"

    Is that the same as "permission" or "encouragement?"

    Emma, I see where you're coming from. I expect English is trying to hold the line that politician's families are exempt from the scrutiny that politicians get. I have a hard time blaming him for that.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    The upside of the net is that everyone get to make a statement, the downside is that if you're full of shit everyone gets to call you on it.

    You know the internet is a reflection of the larger society - bigotry doesn't go away if you ignore it - in fact I think you have to call people on it - being a kid doesn't get you a completely free ride - at some point someone is going to to tell you you're acting like a dick - it takes a village and all that

    Should Bill English be responsible for his kid's BeBo page? if he isn't checking up on it (and his kid's friend's pages) he's IMHO not doing a good job as a parent (I've certainly pointed out the contents of my kid's friend's pages to their parents) - one could argue that as a responsible parent he must have known (or that alternately he's not being a responsible parent)

    Free speech is a wonderfull thing - sadly not quite a right (here) - I'll happily defend your right to say anything you like - if you don't like what someone has to say - don't tell them to take it down - the right thing is more speech - call them on it, tell the world they're full of shit - seems to me that's what GayNZ's doing - but what about Bill? where's his denouncement of his kid's views?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Gah, missing a "not" in that first sentence...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    "What are you doing to your son, Mr English, that might have influenced him to think that way?"

    He's got five sons, one's an idiot. That's a pretty good success rate considering we're talking about boys.

    GayNZ have made the story about Bill English which I'm not that comfortable with. Expecting a public denunciation of his son slips over the line. You'd expect Bill to have a few private words with his son but I don't think we should expect to know all the grisly details.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Would I take the issue public if it wasn't already? Nope. But this wasn't done in private.

    This made me think of Bill English telling off his son via the same media the comments were made, Bebo.

    "it iz not kewl 4 u 2 say dat sum doodz r fags even if they hv been fagetized!!!!! bl nglsh lol"

    I'm sure that Master English is not the only teenage boy in New Zealand who used anti-gay slurs as a way of insulting heterosexual friends and foes. And I bet he doesn't actually know any out-and-proud gay men, further removing the insult from the reality.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    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.

    Meh... if you're going to buy that justification from GayNZ, then don't you have to start doing the same for Wishart, or the (IMO) equally flimsy rationale MSM outlets that should have known better than to legitimise sleazy innuendo about Don Brash & Dianne Foreman's alleged affair, or Peter Davis & Ian Scott's not terribly downlow make out session that wasn't? [Sorry, forgotten the emoticon for eye-rolling exasperation.] Frankly, that was a perfect storm of raw media/political sewage I'd rather forget.

    Anyway, my blood pressure is a little low this morning. I'd go cruising Beebo looking for some idiotic teen male drivel to be outraged by, but that might attract all the wrong kind of attention. You know, being a near-middle aged poof and all.

    Or better, I should go and do some useful work that's going to plump up the bank account. And I promise if Rory ever starts showing up to National Party conferences, I'll give him a handbagging of Thatcherite proportions. :)

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

  • Ben Austin,

    Wasn't there a US court case a few months back relating to a man wanting to delete something he had said a decade ago as a youth as it was still visible somewhere?

    Anyway, teenage boys say pretty stupid things on a regular basis. Not just stupid, but racist, abusive, all the colours of the rainbow really, and thats not even counting those who go to boys only schools/play online games. I would need to see an extensive body of posting/behaviour over a period of years before I'd be willing to pass judgment.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1025 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Of course they do - and parents get to work on that - I tell of my kids for using 'gay' as a generic adjective - and their friends if they do it in our house or car (cue teenage rolling of eyes)

    what you don't do as a parent is keep your mouth shut

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    what you don't do as a parent is keep your mouth shut

    No, and you don't ritually humiliate your children in public as part of a media damage control strategy either. At the risk of sounding way OTT, a certain ad campaign our host is involved in contains the useful reminder that abuse is no less damaging when it's psychological or verbal instead of a good kicking.

    And some folks in the media might like to consider what kind of role models they're providing - because I'll certainly be looking at the next MSM story tut-tutting about 'on-line bullying' or 'text harassment' with an even more jaundiced eye than usual. When teenagers do it on Bebo, its evil; post it on Stuff under a by-line, and it's journalism in the 'public interest'. Meh...

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

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I used CA 90210

    Apparently when Serbia was subject to sanctions, Serbian kids would order from Amazon with an address like:
    <i>1286 Milosevic St,
    Belgrade,
    CROATIA</i>

    Amazon would ship the goods, a postal person somewhere in Europe would think "stupid Americans don't know which country Belgrade's in", correct the address and send the stuff on.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Well I think if your kid is saying bigotted stuff online it's perfectly OK to publically say you don't believe what he says is true - I don't think that humiliating - I wouldn't use inflammatory language to do it - but I wouldn't say 'no comment' either

    On the other hand I wouldn't force them to take it down - instead I'd put up my own comment - and talk to them about what I was doing - a great time to talk to your kid about free speech and bigotry - certainly I wouldn't blindside them - but sounds like Bill has had weeks to talk to his kid and do the parent thing before it became a public issue

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    (oh and for the record I use 00000 as a zipcode a lot - especially usefull if you have a NZ credit card in the US and want to use one of those petrol pumps that insist on a zipcode ...)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Russell wrote:

    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.

    Well, hauling it out into public is. There's a whiff of Witchfinder - General about all this which I have a lot of trouble with.

    I'm also acutely conscious of the fact that politicians families already cop a lot of shit, and that 14 year old boys are, well, 14 year old boys. Craig's comments on this nailed it, for me.

    The Herald-bebo thing....well, yeah, its the latest media fad, it seems. Not a healthy one, either.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Well I think if your kid is saying bigotted stuff online it's perfectly OK to publically say you don't believe what he says is true - I don't think that humiliating - I wouldn't use inflammatory language to do it - but I wouldn't say 'no comment' either

    Paul, we're obviously going to have to agree to disagree on this but I wouldn't make any public comment or respond to media inquiries about my children, full stop.

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

  • InternationalObserver,

    What's the issue here? That Bill English's son made homophobic statements on his Bebo page? Or that the media have 'crossed a line' by tarring a politician with his child's brush?

    I see English's dilemma here: if he admonishes his son's comments then he's admitting his son is homophobic, and by implication he's a bad parent. If he defends his son's comment by saying 'he's only 14, the comments were wrong and hurtful but essentially harmless, all the kids talk this way' then he's an apologist for bigotry.

    So English went for the well-trod 'Media Outrage' and played the family card. I think a lot of people (myself incl) think it's wrong to go after a 14 y.o. to smear a politician. But I'm also troubled by how many are defending English on the basis that his son's comments were 'homophobic' ie it doesn't count as a real 'foul'. I doubt they'd be so happy if English's son had made, say, Neo-Nazi comments.

    It's such a shame that we live in a media environment where English couldn't have admonished his son publicly ("he's been a plonker, and I'll have words with him") and also defended his son ("the comments are wrong and hurtful but are typical of many his age, and something all parents should address with their children. But I don't think he's really homophobic, just ignorant") without the media beating it up into an even bigger story.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    This is something I found on Arts and Letters Daily. The title is Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism. Slightly tangential to the discussion but hey.......I recommend it.
    Maybe we could shift the conversation a bit. I actually feel dirty about talking about people talking about Bill English's son. A bit of an overstatement but still I think this kind of thing needs to be guarded against.
    The paragraphs under "Won't you be my digital neighbor?" were particularly interesting.
    I think the general population needs to have a better grip on the nature of these spaces (bebo, facebook, myspace) before they start "reporting" on Bebo. I think that in time people will become more adept at using the privacy settings (if they have the good sense they were born with!)

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    In mentioning the privacy settings I am not implying that making bigoted comments privately makes it alright. I am just going off on my own tangent.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    n mentioning the privacy settings I am not implying that making bigoted comments privately makes it alright.

    I think privacy settings are a good idea to put things more into context. I mean, I can imagine that a good number of people might be horrified at the jokes that my friends and I make over the dinner table, if they didn't know that (for example) when we use "You know who else did that? THE NAZIS!" as a punchline it's based on a lecture we had in first year of university, or if I scream "I'm not marrying some bloody lesbian!" we're quoting Jackson's Wharf, and I couldn't possibly be a bigot because some of my best friends and I like to sleep with people of both sexes, and it's hard to express tongue-in-cheekness or even sarcasm or deliberate irony over the internet. Unless of course, you go for like, a total overload of italics tags. Because of course it's okay if you put it in italics.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I think that in time people will become more adept at using the privacy settings

    Back in the day, it was all-or-nothing - you either put stuff online for all to see, or you didn't upload it. I think that taught me the art of self-restraint.

    I have this idea that teenagers might be quite open with their internet presences because a) teens often have fierce egos and want everyone to know how truly awesome they are, and b) authority figures have warned them against revealling too much, so they rebel.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    And c) anything further away than next week isn't of relevance to them.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    (oh and for the record I use 00000 as a zipcode a lot - especially usefull if you have a NZ credit card in the US and want to use one of those petrol pumps that insist on a zipcode ...)

    Does that work? Wish I'd known!

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Because of course it's okay if you put it in italics.

    You can say anything on the net if you follow it with a smiley. Bitch ;-)

    I have this idea that teenagers might be quite open with their internet presences because a) teens often have fierce egos and want everyone to know how truly awesome they are, and b) authority figures have warned them against revealling too much, so they rebel.

    Yeah, and I think there's also an element of 'yeah, but it won't happen to me'.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    Yes Joanna that is kind of what I was thinking. With regards to teenagers, I think they need to be explictly taught about private/public/semi-public spaces. The dinner table is a good example (look at me being little Miss Manners) because there are dinner tables at home, in a crowded restaurant, you can request a quiet romantic table for two in the corner, private picnic in a public park........you get the picture. Difference being of course that the internet keeps a record of all your utterances for posterity.
    This may be a bit controversial but I think trawling through teenage bebo pages is a bit like lurking around a little too close to a table of teenagers in a cafe. With a dictaphone. Then claiming they were yelling whatever offensive crap they were spouting amongst themselves from a soapbox on the street. Now obviously teenagers need to be aware that the internet is pretty much a sophisticated dictaphone but I still think it is creepy to trawl through social networking sites for dirt.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    Did we also see the report on Facebook and the "suxual prudators" last night? My friends and I were laughing as the reporter (Tony Field) interviewed some teens.

    Using Jo's italics idea: "__Dirty Old Man has poked you on Facebook__". "__SexyPredator has sent you a gift__"

    Then came an actual funny quote

    "while we were talking a hacker tried to access [little billy's] MySpace page"

    They did what? And it's "H4x0r", Tony.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    But I'm also troubled by how many are defending English on the basis that his son's comments were 'homophobic' ie it doesn't count as a real 'foul'.

    I take your point, and hope I didn't leave that impression. But in the great scheme of things, after reading chapter and verse on what a delusional, murderous homophobe Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is, I'm trying to keep the response proportional.

    Personally, I'm more troubled that we're squinting past murderous state homophobia (because, after all, there's no homosexuality when all the fags and dykes are dead) as long as the regimes involved keep buying plenty of good Kiwi butter and lamb. That's worth a little more righteous indignation than Bill English's son's crass and offensive Bebo page.

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

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