idk, it’s difficult to ignore the central role SOEs are playing in validating this stuff. Perhaps someone could ask the Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media about reintroducing the broadcast charter:
"to set and maintain the highest standards of programme quality and editorial integrity."
• Providing for minority interests and increased choice
• Enforcement of standards of content which conform with and support perceived community values.
• Promotion of national culture and identity.
• Promotion of participatory democracy, including encouragement of a diversity of sources of information.
likelihood of a cultural switch within the sector back towards fact-based narratives?:
for no reason I can fathom without drowning in bile and cynicism, both Stuff and The Herald chose to lend their platforms to a small group of very vocal transphobes.
Tellingly, in constructing his original piece, Stewart was informed of Renee Gerlich’s conspiracy theorist blogging; comparing modern trans surgery to Nazi experimentation on trans people – a detail repeatedly omitted in his commentaries.
Upon publication of that piece, Patrick Crewdson was approached, leading to Dom Post Editor Eric Janssen offering to discuss it over coffee. Unable to meet, instead connecting him to the trans woman (two words) whose testimony wrt Gerlich’s NAZI fixation Stewart had previously disregarded, Janssen’s response appeared lacklustre – and AFAIK no further attempt was made at contact.
All of this despite Gerlich’s status as a NAZI conspiracy theorist being a matter of public record for some months, verifiable via rudimentary Google search.
contains an article written nine months ago by Gerlich, comparing modern trans surgery to Nazi experimentation on trans people, entitled “Fundamentalism, Pseudoscience, Romanticism, and Scapegoats: some parallels of gender identity doctrine with Nazi eugenics”.
And finally (apologies for the multi-posts), as more well-platformed journalists and the like step up to nail their colours to the mast in spite of the above and other material conditions, Moana Jackson has done a wonderful job of weaving these many threads of the kaitaka huaki together, expressing so much in this beautiful piece Rethinking free speech:
Any freedom should enhance the mana of the individual and the collective rather than diminish it
Incidentally it's Day of Silence.
“Discrimination towards rainbow communities is still hugely prevalent in Aotearoa and more needs to be done to address it. The Day of Silence campaign is about raising awareness and asking New Zealanders to consider what part they play in ending homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in our country.”
Perhaps we could throw it in the hat
I see Dr Bryce Edwards has penned a piece for Newsroom which largely pulls the same neo-colonial stops already covered in this thread i.e. misrepresentation of terms like “banned”, “free speech” etc.
There’s some interesting elements to this, none less so than the fact that an article ostensibly written about issues related to S&M and Dr Brash only makes reference to Māori – once, in an individual capacity, and without the macron – this likewise occurred in the earlier ’pro’ publication.
This colourblind erasure of Māori concerns is an overriding theme for the piece as he speaks of clampdowns on political freedoms:
Of course, historically, it’s been the political left and marginalised groups that have suffered the most from clampdowns on political freedoms. Socialists, unionists, and other groups fighting for liberation and equality have had their speech suppressed by the state or the media.
With no acknowledgement whatsoever of the greatest suppression of free speech Aotearoa (across the political spectrum) has had to overcome:
The Māori language was suppressed in schools, either formally or informally, to ensure that Māori youngsters assimilated with the wider community. Some older Māori still recall being punished for speaking their language. In the mid-1980s Sir James Henare recalled being sent into the bush to cut a piece of pirita (supplejack vine) with which he was struck for speaking te reo in the school grounds. One teacher told him that ‘if you want to earn your bread and butter you must speak English.’
In light of the cancellation of Hone Harawira, there is rather a sense of putting the cart before the horse in the way he formulates his points:
Those calling for restrictions seem to forget that they won’t always be in power, and the climate of suppression they create encourages an opponent to use the same tactics against you.
What struck me most about the piece is how tone-deaf it feels when analysed in contemporary context. As Dr Edwards throws around his strawman, vaguely along the lines of: "the left who supported Thomas’s decision to cancel a talk by Dr Brash in a heated political climate are vying for free speech to be widely suppressed" he seems unwilling or unable to contend with the advent of the internet and digital communication.
As he types:
Whether it’s the civil rights movement in the US, gay rights movements everywhere, or the anti-Springbok Tour movement in 1981, they’ve all been helped by the ability to organise freely and speak freely.
He comes across as awkwardly misrepresentive of the way political organisation has evolved since the 50s
This was most obvious during the 1951 watersiders lockout, when it was illegal to distribute pro-union pamphlets.
Disregarding key issues such as the fact that the state lacks teeth to suppress speech in the 21st century – yes violations can be prosecuted but that in itself is insufficient to keep the cat in the bag, this has been common knowledge for years (I was able to access this musician’s name within about 5 minutes from an offshore site) – obfuscates the way the state has evolved to thwart free organisation of political activism; i.e. not by suppressing speech but by eaves-dropping on communications etc.
The temptation for the left to support the state, or even businesses, in suppressing the activities of right wing or reactionary activists or speakers, on the basis of their awful politics should be avoided, if for no other reason than it is likely to produce a climate or rules in which the left and marginalised groups are further marginalised.
In writing this paragraph my sense was that there is a failure to fully account for the way in which marginalised groups are already "further marginalised", which brings into question what “free speech” means in this catatonic context.
Dr Edwards first came to my attention on Twitter when I noticed he’d faved a transphobic joke by Damian Grant about “__bruce__ Jenner” winning woman of the year (subsequently deleted). I’ve observed him platforming anti-trans activists with an uncomfortable regularity – (he originally RTd this innocuous tweet – later tweeting under his own name), the point being that he’s not precious about not boosting the profile of anti-trans voices to his 11.6k audience – to the extent that he’s comfortable endorsing the kinds of "I identify as an attack helicopter" type tweets which marginalise and harm trans people – particularly youth.
Sure folks like this always have a pro-trans tweet on the ledger – in case pressed – the “some of my best friends are…” for the digital age. Folks like this are everywhere and minority concerns around marginalisation are largely erm marginalised – so it’s of no great concern to most people let alone well-regarded, well-funded, well-platformed servants of the hegemony. As they attempt to minimise Dr Brash’s campaign against the public use of Te Reo to being part of a dispute on "property rights", as they lighten the tone with jokey asides about gender and sexual minorities "burning up the letters of the alphabet"
Which I’ll just assume is hilarious when you’re not in the firing line.
Dr Edwards knows he can broadcast as many transphobic jokes as he likes with absolute impunity. I presume that my understanding of what free speech should be is far removed from someone who uses their platforms to amplify the mocking and marginalisation of minorities. That this power imbalance is not accounted for in his analysis highlights the limitations he faces in attempting to present issues of this nature beyond the scope of his own bias and erasive framing. Yes minorities may point out the erasure in his reporting but without the visibility and platform, information is suppressed.
So on the one hand, while he makes compelling arguments for his audience – he largely falls into the type of trap outlined by Cornel West in his recent bFM interview of not being accountable for his free speech, assuming – as far as I can ascertain – that everyone else enjoys the same well-platformed privileges and/or is equally comfortable antagonising minorities.
accountability takes a lot of different forms, there’s legal accountability, there’s political accountability, there’s intellectual accountability and that’s what democracy is about, it’s the accountability, especially the powerful using arbitrary power to dominate, express and exploit and degrade everyday people, working people, poor people; women, black folk, brown folk, indigenous people, gay and lesbians, trans and so forth
Circling back to what’s already been discussed in this thread one point which remains evident to me at least is that regardless of how much civics, ethics etc one is exposed to, without an awareness and preparedness to address our history, then it remains largely academic.
Dr Brash doesn’t thrive on our lack of ethic and civic responsibility as much as he thrives on our lack of understanding of our own history. Māori history is largely ignored say our top historians, New Zealand Land Wars should be taught in high school, says Waikato history teacher, it’s *that* bad that I learned considerably more about Te Tiriti o Waitangi from this Fairfax(who now uses macrons) series than i learnt right the way through the NZ education system to tertiary level.
Furthermore on the note of education, beyond left-right framing, the distance ably highlighted in this thread between various academics is huge – while one lecturer might be enviably competent in providing a nuanced and wider historical context another might brush cultural and political context aside entirely, as Dr Edwards is doing.
A decade of my life I won’t get back.
You certainly woke me up. To reiterate what Katharine said:
I love this place because I learn so much.
whakawhetai koe mo tou mahi!
History has been witness to how societies killed their differently abled population as they were seen as useless and a burden on society. The Nazi regime eliminated many differently abled people in concentration camps. In ancient Rome, people and even babies born with disabilities were killed, by stoning them to death. Today, many families leave their newborn babies in orphanages if they are born differently abled. There are many who feel ashamed and embarrassed about the existence of differently abled people in their families.
Vocabulary matters in making or reducing a discourse. There’s a long way to go in how societies treat people with disabilities, and language is one of these important steps.
Patrick Crewdson’s klan facilitating dissemination of the ideology.
I’d be embarrassed to be most news editors and producers right now.
I’m embarrassed to be Pākehā right now – more than ever. As I read somewhere:
"𝕳𝖊’𝖘 𝖆 𝖙𝖞𝖕𝖎𝖈𝖆𝖑 𝖕𝖗𝖔𝖉𝖚𝖈𝖊 𝖔𝖋 𝖍𝖎𝖘 𝖈𝖚𝖑𝖙𝖚𝖗𝖆𝖑 𝖓𝖎𝖈𝖍𝖊, 𝖓𝖔𝖙 𝖆 𝖗𝖆𝖈𝖎𝖘𝖙."
White men don’t get to decide what racism is, white people don’t get to decide what racism is, they were so bad at judging it every time it happened, they were bad at judging it during slavery, they were bad at judging it during Jim Crow, white people don’t get to play this game, you don’t get to decide what the rules are here.