Posts by BenWilson

  • Hard News: Abroad and Home,

    Maybe a little holiday in Europe or down in the land of plenty while it's going on?*

    The world is watching in steadily increasing astonishment at a formerly prosperous and powerful country imploding. It's not pretty. The worst part is that it's entirely an own goal. No external party can be blamed for any of this. It's like watching an alcoholic self destruction spiral, in a wealthy family.

    *I can't say things are all peaches down here - came across my first West Auckland shanty town on a walk last night. Along an unused pathway next to the railway line there was a row of 5 tent like structures, jerry-built from tarpaulins, housing at least 5 people, one of whom was a young woman, who looked as miserable as you'd expect, anticipating a cold, wet night. I know such sights are commonplace around the world, but it's something I've literally never seen in West Auckland before. Or actually anywhere in NZ, for that matter. This was a small homeless community doing their best not to die on the streets. I'm regular getting approached by beggars, and frequently questioned by the police just for walking around at night (a sign that they are struggling to deal with roving thieves and robbers). There is constant copper chopper presence most nights.

    At least it seems like the Government are doing their damnedest to crank out housing. It's long overdue, and Ardern has showed just how easily solved it really is, it only involves having a will to actually do it. I think it's going to take a long sustained bipartisan effort across at least 20 years to pull us out of the housing poverty spiral that's happened here, though, and I don't see any indication of National coming to that party. Long may they stay in Opposition, in that case, until they get their heads out of their arses. But established right wing parties all around the developed world are showing signs that heads up arses is the new normal, and nowhere more clearly than in Mother England.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10559 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Housing, homeless and drugs:…,

    Some homeless guy died in some bushes near my house that I had often passed and thought would be a good place for homeless people to camp without being seen by passers by. Turns out to not really be that good at 5 degrees in the rain without a tent or sleeping bag or food. It was literally a place to go and quietly die. This is not the NZ I want to live in.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10559 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Housing, homeless and drugs:…,

    This is a really good article.

    One of our peer support workers, even people who are homeless, went ‘that won’t work, you can’t just put addled people into housing and expect them to do well’. But it does.”

    It's really telling that we are even in this place. As if the alternative is somehow better, that they continue living on the street, where of course addled people do so much better. That even people working in the program found it hard to believe it could work ... ?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10559 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: R.O.A.R., in reply to BenWilson,

    No, I forgot (it was so inconsequential). Some called me a butter chicken, said some rude stuff in Hindi, then flounced. That was it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10559 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: R.O.A.R., in reply to Russell Brown,

    (Hmmm. This sounds a bit mopey, but it’s actually not meant to.)

    Yes, I'm sorry for the threadjack, been meaning to ask Emma at the earliest opportunity, and the segue was pretty thin. It's not any kind of criticism, certainly not of Emma who is amazing me by being able to write at all given what she's been through. I'm just interested in whether she had any insight beyond the explanation that steven crawford gives above, which is surely true, to some extent. That afflicts us all, but perhaps there was an even stronger dynamic for women at work.

    But again, there's the other explanation that we're all getting older too, so it's probably not really possible to be objective.

    I had also forgotten that there was a long and somewhat rough thread on all of this already, 2 years ago. Thanks reader who emailed me on it. I must have switched off some way before the final shutdown, but it goes a long way to answering why, when I made a personal rule that I would not comment on thread where the ratio of women to men fell below a certain point (barring the Speaker threads I wrote myself*), that I then wasn't able to make many comments for about a year, until I abandoned the rule.

    *Which ironically, I had closed as they had become a way for random taxi drivers to anonymously fuck with me and I got tired of having to watch them for potential abuse. They could have had a go on the FB page I set up solely for that purpose, which had well over a thousand drivers on it by the end, and my own moderation crew, but of course on FB you have to go to the trouble of setting up a fake account to anonymous screw with people, and blocking them is a single click away. I never had any abuse directed at me there, ever, and only had to block 2 people - one for outright overt racism, and the other for sustained gay-baiting. But that's closed FB pages for you. I think it's a huge testament to the exceptionalism given to white male educated older men that on something so divisive I never had even one single abuse pointed at me. The gay white middle aged educated guy, on the other hand...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10559 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: R.O.A.R., in reply to Emma Hart,

    This Trumpian post-truth, lying has no consequences age has just completely sucked out my will to engage.

    I guess that's what I'm wondering about. Whether such change as I have noticed is actually just a fact about me and people I have engaged with who have also aged, progressed, move on, been ground down, fallen out with each other, etc, or whether there's something genuinely different about now, and things are getting worse. It's hard to be objective about this kind of question. Because even the means to discuss it have changed and moved on, the metrics are not constant, and the objectives also shift.

    Also, I feel like… I’ve been writing here for ten years. I’ve said everything. Either things have changed – the dominant voice of NZ feminism has hugely changed, for instance – or they’ve remained the same, and what more can I add?

    Yes, I have often felt I've nothing more to say that I haven't already said. Which is not to say I know everything, quite the opposite - that the more I argued the less certain I became about abstract matters and yet the more certain about many concrete things - who I love, who I will fight for, what kind of behaviour is OK, which people I want to hear from. Focusing on battles that can be won seems like a more constructive use of my dwindling time. World peace: can look after itself. Getting my kids to have good character: I can probably have a big influence over it. Protecting my children from social oppression: Definitely worth fighting for, even if the worst enemys in the battle are probably (to outsiders) very much like me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10559 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: R.O.A.R.,

    More on topic (last post done on phone, usually a mistake, given how far it veered off topic), I can only agree to the pushing of every kind of bigotry off platforms wherever you can. Transphobia is so clearly an example of bigotry, despite the continuing institutional failure to catch up with protection of the rights of trans people.

    I am certainly guilty of struggling to treat their rights in more than an abstract way, because I just don't have extensive contact with the community. I rely on stories told by that community, and so clearly places where they can tell their stories are very important. They will still be targeted for cowardly private attacks continuously, but keeping the forum clear is the least we can do.

    But the question of how far to use the arts of the enemies of tolerance against them is obviously somewhat fraught. It's very hard to fight a war for peace, without using non-peaceful methods. Punching Nazis is, IMHO, letting Nazis off lightly, and going further does seem to work quite rapidly wherever it is tried. I have no sympathy whatsoever for people who demand the right for public places to be used to express bigotry, but then find consequences in workplaces, public squares, and obviously, on internet communities. I would have had no sympathy for the Power Station, if their venue suffered in many ways from a choice to platform white supremacists, and I can only guess that saner heads involved in the management saw this very clearly.

    We don't have quite such a groundswell of visceral outrage for homegrown transphobia, though. It must be galling to hear one form of bigotry eloquently and violently opposed by people who then turn around and display another towards you. People you thought were sympathetic, turn out to make an exception for you.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10559 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: R.O.A.R.,

    I don't think any long time regular can fail to notice the lengthy absence of prominent female voices in PAS. Is due to change in the world, or is it a long run inevitability for any cohort of people that the women eventually drop out due to sheer exhaustion from dealing with the imbalance Emma speaks of?

    It's been a revelation to me (and most likely no surprise to outspoken women) how incredibly unbalanced the vitriol women have to deal with is. I was aware of a difference but had not truly appreciated that the differences go beyond the hurt feelings I have occasionally encountered in robust debate. So far beyond. I've never been physically threatened, stalked, privately insulted via different means, doxed, had randos continually coming at me, had unwanted and unwelcome approaches for sex followed by rape threats, threats on my family. But I've come to realize for women in the public eye this is almost normal. Furthermore it's even more extreme again for any woman who makes it their business to speak out against it. Add being a woman of color and its next level again. It was really sobering recently to read the accounts of Lani Wendt Young approaching the police with a humongous dossier of evidence of online threats and being told they would do nothing whatsoever, and being advised to stop being who she is, basically.

    I don't know what to do about any of this. Retreating after being pushed beyond endurance is fully understandable so it's not helpful to say "never give up". "What can I do to help?" is all I have left. It's a genuine question.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10559 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: NZ On Air and the bill that…, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Oh, this is timely

    Yes, damned good. Some of it's a mystery to me, since I don't rely on Facebook for anything at all. My social media is Twitter, and there ain't no algorithm deciding what news I read, apart from perhaps the way they fuxored the chronology of the timeline.

    I strongly resist the idea of letting an algorithm decide what news I get, without really being able to articulate why. I don't feel this way about other algorithmic recommendations, indeed they're pretty much the only way to usefully search TradeMe (their own engine is ridiculously bad), and obviously Google searches are, and have always been, algorithmic. But I my understanding of the world is very much through the prism of a social experience of it, shared discussion about what's going on and what it means, and passively having that curated by a bot puts me off. Not just in theory, but also in practice. Left to blind statistics, I'm just bombarded with stupid clickbait, probably because it works. So I don't seek it out, I seek to avoid it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10559 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: On joining the international…, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    I think you'll find the syllabus has changed a lot since the 60s. But my point was that young people are still young, can only learn so much in the time given, have to choose between competing studies, and I personally think they do an amazing job of it. I was recently a returning student at University and I have to say that I came away very much reassured that the world is heading into safer hands. They are woke like we only dreamed of, and our excuse that we didn't have the learning resources they do is fair enough for why we weren't as switched on as they are, but it's not an ongoing excuse for failing to keep up.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10559 posts Report Reply

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