Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The best blogger there never was

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  • Paul Williams,

    I'd like to think I'm just better than that.

    Certainly true, certainly. Though could it be because we're all more well (and not because you're more sensible and intelligent?)

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    It reminds me of when Rush Limbaugh remarked that people resort to name-calling when they run out of arguments. The same Rush Limbaugh who went on to coin terms such as "politically correct" and "feminazi".

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5439 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    @DeepRed: Don't forget Obama's "Kenyan anti-colonial" worldview. I thought America was born out of "anti-colonial' sentiments, though I may have completely missed the point of the American Revolution.

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

  • Sacha,

    Lawyer Rick Shera has the full 70 page judgement embedded.

    My take is less considered: Slater is a cowardly cockhead with a raging sense of entitlement. His obvious mental illness does not excuse that, and nor does it excuse those who enable his ongoing bad behaviour.

    That includes ignorant media who characterised his actions as a principled political campaign and decided to provide a platform for continued defiance rather than properly report the Judge's findings. The two main tv news shows did not even explain that the suppression orders Slater took it on himself to violate were for the protection of victims of violence, not offenders. Sloppy and shameful.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    His obvious mental illness does not excuse that, and nor does it excuse those who enable his ongoing bad behaviour.

    It actually makes people who hide behind him even worse.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10655 posts Report Reply

  • ChrisW,

    Fairburn’s 1939 The Sky is a Limpet is surely a gem of a pollytickle parroty, footnoted “All the chiropracters in this burke are untidily menagerie and have no reverence to any loving parson” by way of example.

    Where the "burke" is only 2 short pages, indeed would be great for a blog post, and imagine the fun in the comments with Dalziel and all.

    Gisborne • Since Apr 2009 • 851 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Hoar,

    Montaigne as "best blogger that never was"?

    Pepys is already there:

    http://www.pepysdiary.com/

    Great way to start the day.

    And Boswell as "best chat show host that never was" (thankfully)

    Auckland • Since Sep 2007 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    My take is less considered: Slater is a cowardly cockhead with a raging sense of entitlement. His obvious mental illness does not excuse that, and nor does it excuse those who enable his ongoing bad behaviour.

    Srsly dude, don't read the relevant Kiwiblog thread. I only just managed to drag myself away from engaging with the idiocy at play there. When vile little snots like Clint Heine are dispensing moral lectures ...

    But, to be expected, I suppose. What's less forgivable is the high level of enablement provided to Slater by mainstream media organisations.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Certainly true, certainly. Though could it be because we're all more well (and not because you're more sensible and intelligent?)

    Heh... deserved that I guess. But, you know something, I'm quite possibly not "more well" than Slater at all. I manage my mental illness and alcoholism (with a lot of unconditional love and support from angels in human guise) and don't use it as an excuse for being a shit. There's a lot of us out there.

    When vile little snots like Clint Heine are dispensing moral lectures ...

    I've never forgiven him for making me defend Helen Clark after the photo-shopped she-male porn incident. :)

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

  • Kyle Matthews,

    @ Kyle. So, you had a bad experience but surely you are not arguing that your experience negates all scholarship?

    Oh no. I thought my degree was very useful and mostly enjoyable, particularly my honours dissertation which actually had a life beyond submission - several people read it a year out of interest as well as academia, and it got a large story in the ODT in 2003.

    But the reading involved, particularly of historical theorists - I felt like history had sucked my brain out and replaced it with a robotic reading, note-taking, memorising and regurgitating machine. It needed healing and I spent a couple of years re-reading pulpy fiction that I'd bought when I was a teenager and avoiding the non-fiction section of the library all together.

    When vile little snots like Clint Heine are dispensing moral lectures ...

    He was a child when he was studying here in the mid-1990s, and I get every impression he still hasn't grown up.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    But, to be expected, I suppose.

    For sure. The whole thread read like a parody, especially the repeated claims that Slater has huge gonads. If you deliberately break a law because you disagree with it, the courageous thing to do is take it right on the chin, to say "Yeah, guilty and proud!", not to slither around trying to make out that you weren't really trying to break the law, or that you broke it because you're sick.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10655 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    I agree, Ben. Slater's being a raging hypocrite about it all. He'd be the first to whine to the cops if a supression order about him was breached.
    Plus he'd probably launch a feral fatwa on his blog against whoever may've breached it.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 760 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I manage my mental illness and alcoholism (with a lot of unconditional love and support from angels in human guise) and don't use it as an excuse for being a shit. There's a lot of us out there.

    Yes, there are. I've been encountering a lot of depressed people recently, who show better character than Slater in two ways. Firstly, they don't use it as an excuse. Secondly, they admit to it and seek help, which is probably the hardest part. It's the only way they'll get better.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10655 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Srsly dude, don't read the relevant Kiwiblog thread. I only just managed to drag myself away from engaging with the idiocy at play there.

    As usual with your recommendations re: Kiwiblog I've gone and taken the exact opposite course of action.

    I admit, you were right, but at least I got to see this:

    rouppe (117) Says:
    September 14th, 2010 at 4:31 pm
    Well that’s odd. According to Stuff…

    He was fined $750 for each count, a total amount to $6250, and ordered to pay $130 court costs for each charge.

    When rapists go on a rampage and violate several different women, their sentences are usually concurrent, not consecutive.

    Why has Slater been handed consecutive sentences for relatively minor offences?

    Repton (639) Says:
    September 14th, 2010 at 5:15 pm
    "Why has Slater been handed consecutive sentences for relatively minor offences?"

    I’m sure the court wouldn’t mind if he paid them all at once...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • uroskin,

    I thought America was born out of "anti-colonial' sentiments, though I may have completely missed the point of the American Revolution.

    The American Revolution was one of those historical mistakes we still have to live with. Imagine if the colonies had stayed as they were. Colonies. The "USA" would now have been like..... Canada.

    Waiheke Island • Since Feb 2007 • 178 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Heh... deserved that I guess. But, you know something, I'm quite possibly not "more well" than Slater at all. I manage my mental illness and alcoholism (with a lot of unconditional love and support from angels in human guise) and don't use it as an excuse for being a shit. There's a lot of us out there.

    Indeed. Alcohol's a very convenient and pleasant way to take a break.

    And I think you've made my point better than I did initially. Slater is almost certainly an obnoxious prick regardless of his health.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    I once heard that a thesis is not even nearly ready until the sight of it makes the author feel physically ill. One PhD I knew said she knew hers was ready when upon entering her study and seeing the manuscript laid out for yet another proofreading, she rushed to the bathroom and vomited uncontrollably. Another week and it was done.

    I haven't reached that stage yet thankfully.

    I spoke to Paul Millar about his experiences finishing his Bill Pearson biography (he mentioned in his speech at the launch that it had taken him 12 years to write it). I asked him how he finished it? He replied that he had got desperately desperate, and so locked himself away in a room every Saturday for six months or so and worked on the manuscript for the entire day.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Cameron Slater's behaviour does not seem like depression to me, although I am no expert. His behaviour is akin to what I would expect from a spoilt child, throwing a tantrum for not getting his own way then sulking, complaining that it wasn't fair then blaming something outside of his control for his behaviour " I couldn't help it, I was upset"
    Should we blame the parents? How many times have we had to hear about Paul homes every time his adopted daughter gets busted? Why are we hearing nothing here about Slater's wealthy father? or is there a self imposed name suppression thing going on here?

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    I spoke to Paul Millar about his experiences finishing his Bill Pearson biography (he mentioned in his speech at the launch that it had taken him 12 years to write it). I asked him how he finished it? He replied that he had got desperately desperate, and so locked himself away in a room every Saturday for six months or so and worked on the manuscript for the entire day.

    That must have been horrible. But worth it from my selfish readerly point of view - the book is just superb.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Why are we hearing nothing here about Slater's wealthy father? or is there a self imposed name suppression thing going on here?

    Well yes, because not only would it damage the idea that wealth is a sign of success in all areas of life but it would focus people on daddy's role as the head of C&R and ex-President of the National Party. Then it might be eaiser for people to join some dots between his deranged son and certain lobbyists or candidates for office. Can't be having that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Srsly dude, don't read the relevant Kiwiblog thread.

    Heh. Not tempted.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Well yes, because not only would it damage the idea that wealth is a sign of success in all areas of life but it would focus people on daddy's role as the head of C&R and ex-President of the National Party.

    Jesus, Sacha, and I guess Amanda Goff's drug conviction should "focus" people on what a douche-bag her father is and how he's unfit to be leader of the Opposition, let alone Prime Minister? No, because Ms. Goff is an adult who is responsible for her own behaviour. Think John Slater could receive the same courtesy?

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

  • linger,

    Surely a false analogy, Craig?
    With Cameron, party affiliations are relevant to the enabling of his criminal behaviour. (NB: no direct involvement or approval by his father is implied in this statement, or by Sacha's comment.)

    By contrast, in what way is Amanda's drug conviction politically connected to her father?

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1938 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Millar,

    Hi Christopher and Sam,

    It's true that successfully completing a PhD usually involves pushing through a sort of pain barrier to get the writing finished--certainly there's as much perspiration as inspiration involved. There's also the fact that by the end one has lost almost all objectivity about the thesis and it's hard to know whether it's original or pedestrian (never mind the fear that a month before you submit, someone else will come out with a book saying everything you have, only better).

    As for the Bill Pearson biography (which wasn't related to my PhD on James K. Baxter), it took about eight years from beginning to end (sorry if I put you wrong there Christopher). I'd known Bill for 12 years, but it was only in the final months of his life in 2002, when he was terminally ill, that we began to work on the book. It went in fits and starts for a while, having to be fitted in around teaching and various other writing projects. I had an intense few months interviewing Bill and corresponding with him before he died. Then a long period of travel, interviews and time in libraries and archives and, when all had been collected, a heavy few months spent writing. And, yes, I'd say the bulk of it was written in 6-8 months last year, with a lot done on Saturdays as I was also working full-time as an academic (and here I must thank colleagues at Canterbury who took on extra workload to help me finish).

    Perhaps the hardest thing to discover when I finished, was the extent to which I hadn't finished. My first draft was close to 250,000 words long (notes included) and AUP had set a maximum of 150,000 words. In the end I think we compromised and I cut about 60,000 words out, which felt almost as hard as writing them (although to be honest it was my partner Kay who did most of the cutting--she turned out to be a copy editor extraordinaire).

    And then there was the inevitable uncertainty about how the biography would be received, as it was written as a social history as much as a biography, with Pearson as a type of lens focusing on particular aspects of 20th century New Zealand life and experience, and I wasn't certain how that would come across. In that regard I've been very fortunate as responses have been almost uniformly positive (thanks Sam!). I've discovered what other writers have often told me, that some of the greatest reward is not so much the positive reviews as the unsolicited correspondence and conversations with people who took the time and made the effort to get hold of the book, read it and express an opinion.

    By the way, I'm currently working on the biography of Charles Brasch, so if you or anyone you know has connections to Brasch I'd be pleased to hear from them.

    Since Jul 2010 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Well yes, because not only would it damage the idea that wealth is a sign of success in all areas of life but it would focus people on daddy's role as the head of C&R and ex-President of the National Party. Then it might be eaiser for people to join some dots between his deranged son and certain lobbyists or candidates for office. Can't be having that.

    I gather Slater senior genuinely despairs of his son's behaviour -- what can he do? I agree with Craig: however much he behaves like a child, Cameron Slater is an adult.

    Which isn't to say there aren't Act and National party actvists who've been enabling Slater for years. David Farrar's post on it this morning is disgraceful.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

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