OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Dear Labour Caucus

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  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Damian Christie,

    Again, we are in danger of me feeling you are deliberately misinterpreting what I'm trying to say.

    I was going to apologise but then

    I didn't see too many people arguing whether "cafe", "public square" or "salon" was an appropriate metaphor for online discussion when I was in Afghanistan.

    you confirmed my interpretation of your comment was in fact correct: discussing class is a first world luxury. Good then.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    I was going to apologise but then

    ...you found something else to misinterpret, and diss rather than discuss. Good then.

    I'm out. Of this thread. Last one out please turn off the lights.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Damian Christie,

    ...you found something else to misinterpret, and diss rather than discuss.

    If the second paragraph of your last comments is open to interpretations other than the one I've given, I'd honestly like to hear them.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    What is that buzzing noise?
    Bees reach consensus by headbutting dissenters

    As with neurons, the swarm’s collective decision is made when a particular threshold is reached. But, unlike neurons, the bees have a very physical means of inhibiting those with a competing message: they headbutt them.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    Bees reach consensus by headbutting dissenters

    So do Sardinians. True story.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Damian Christie,

    I didn't see too many people arguing whether "cafe", "public square" or "salon" was an appropriate metaphor for online discussion when I was in Afghanistan.

    As someone who has lived for an extended period in a poor country that could reasonably be called third world - at least in the rural bits (Indonesia) - I can say that you do find people discussing trivia endlessly, and in extreme detail, often circuitously and frustratingly.

    The minutiae of daily life is examined and tossed around in village gathering places sometimes without obvious resolution, and includes questions every bit as slight as the above question on metaphors.

    Or, in 2011, just as a often, in places like this - online forums.

    At best I find the #whitewhine and #firstworldproblems tags arrogant - the rest if the world seen through a Discovery Channel or tourist experience filter, or at worst b̶o̶r̶d̶e̶r̶l̶i̶n̶e̶ racist.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3284 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    At best I find the #whitewhine and #firstworldproblems tags arrogant – the rest if the world seen through a Discovery Channel or tourist experience filter, or at worst b̶o̶r̶d̶e̶r̶l̶i̶n̶e̶ racist

    Quite. As though people in villages and cities around the world did not fall in love, experience bad service, or buy the wrong paint. It's not all starving and breeding in those other places.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    But not allowing for the existence of class or a sufficiently honest and nuanced understanding of class impoverishes the political conversation,

    Could you possibly just talk about it instead of complaining about how you're not allowed to talk about it and trying to bait Damian?

    No one is stopping you.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    At best I find the #whitewhine and #firstworldproblems tags arrogant – the rest if the world seen through a Discovery Channel or tourist experience filter, or at worst b̶o̶r̶d̶e̶r̶l̶i̶n̶e̶ racist.

    Thoughtlessly rather than maliciously so, as per the Atlantic column that Gio mentioned and which Toby Manhire covered here.

    It’s hardly a sin to publicly make light of one’s minor frustrations. People just need better words for it. #middleclasscalamity, perhaps.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Or indeed that unemployment, not knowing where the next dollar is going to come from, housing so bad it causes sickness, or food insecurity (not having enough food at least some of the time) did not affect New Zealand.

    I’m out. Of this thread. Last one out please turn off the lights.

    I’m in, rather belatedly. But I seem to think that what Giovanni has raised is indeed important; there is a huge ideological void in public discourse in New Zealand, and it is that way because decisions have been made that foreclose that discussion.* The area of things that are outside acceptable discourse is huge, but it includes meaningful discussion about differentiations in class and how the structure of society produces such outcomes, and how these affect race in New Zealand.

    I’m always struck by the fact that when I step off a plane from Australia, into my hometown of Mangere, the person cleaning the toilet will be Samoan or Tongan. Our Mexicans. It’s so normal that it passes without comment almost the rest of the time, even when I live in South Auckland.

    *edit: not, I must add, by the moderator of this discussion. I refer to the content of our television, newspapers, and radio, and those who are considered to be acceptable spokespeople for the issues and society.

    **further edit: reading back through the thread, may comment further.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Could you possibly just talk about it instead of complaining about how you're not allowed to talk about it and trying to bait Damian?

    Actually, I have and so have others, but don't let that divert you from the far more important topic of saintly Damian's hurt feelings.

    No one is stopping you.

    That's fantastically rich. Anyhow, signing off now - you all have a pleasant break.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Having just read through all of the comments by Damian, Russell, and Giovanni, I can say that the only pointed comment directed personally was the one in which he brought in Damian's class interests. The rest were consistently on topic, wide-ranging, thought out and interesting.

    I'll also rescind my above edit. Discussion about class has been policed here, because (consistent) rejoinders to swerves away from acknowledging its structural conditions have been characterised as aggressive and 'dickish', because they are consistently directed towards the person making the claims. Giovanni is a sharp writer, but not a malicious one.

    I'm disappointed.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to George Darroch,

    Our Mexicans

    "I'm struck how our friends (considered middle class because of real estate) who live in the countryside, are heading to Oz for 3 or 4 months of the year for work, then home to their land for the remaining, with savings to live off. These are hard hit rural areas. We are almost at the stage where, it's not so much "Islanders for toilets" but ""everyone into a city for work." Moving across the ditch is proving to be the new wave of Mexicans for Australia.Then Australians will get resentful because Kiwis are taking their jobs.....

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    Anyhow, signing off now – you all have a pleasant break.

    You too Giovanni, to you and yours.
    A fra poco.
    Cin cin :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Thoughtlessly rather than maliciously so, as per the Atlantic column that Gio mentioned and which Toby Manhire covered here.

    Let's call it something akin to casual racism borne of perhaps understandable ignorance* given the way the western media and entertainment industries often plays the non-Western stories, rather than anything malicious.



    *and I'm not accusing Damian, who has been a good mate for well over a decade (thus I'm reasonably able to judge), of either, of course. Just to be clear.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3284 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to George Darroch,

    I’ll also rescind my above edit. Discussion about class has been policed here, because (consistent) rejoinders to swerves away from acknowledging its structural conditions have been characterised as aggressive and ‘dickish’, because they are consistently directed towards the person making the claims. Giovanni is a sharp writer, but not a malicious one.

    Look, I’m sorry. Perhaps I got it wrong. I simply checked in and saw the same bickering going on. Damian’s a friend and a blogger here. He may have been over-sensitive in this case, but he also got jumped on again. I honestly think his intent was not as alleged. And I’m at a loss as to what “claims” he was making.

    I am not trying to police the discussion of class. I’d be delighted if someone wrote a post about it and other people discussed the post, or if this discussion continued.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    I also want to respond briefly on the Grant Robertson thing because I think it’s pertinent: I don’t have much of a problem with the guy, I thought he was weak on special needs in education but liked a couple of his campaigns in Parliament (particularly on the vote to prisoners).

    I am however enormously frustrated by the tendency on the part of almost all of our politicians – and certainly not just Robertson – to empty their speeches of political content, leaving us to try to divine what they’re about from Hansard or their voting record or inside knowledge of party debates.

    I did feel completely frustrated by trying to discuss it with you. I thought that he did state an admirable political purpose in his maiden speech, and others pointed out his longstanding and sincere engagement with disability issues. You just kept moving the goalposts, until we ended up with your problem with him being one common to all other MPs. Which did raise the question of why we were discussing him in particular at all.

    When Robertson appeared to be supporting Parker, who’s on the far right of the party, it came, if not as a surprise, as a confirmation that I was at a complete loss to work out who he was. And so I asked PAS because here he is well liked, and I figured somebody could enlighten me

    Which I did actually try and do. I stopped what I was doing to look up his speech and quote it.

    But it might be more productive to look at other elements of his record than to speculate on a leadership contest that none of us really knows much about. Is Parker really to the “far right” of his party? Is he really further right than Cunliffe, a wealthy former business analyst who lives in Herne Bay? I’m sure someone could build the same narrative around Cunliffe using those two facts – it wouldn’t make it true. You just seemed determined to be pissy about it.

    I have had people privately ask me if you were all right while this thread’s been running. I’ll try and monitor my own judgement better in these matters, but I can only do my best.

    Edit: I guess it didn’t help that after I took issue, in a very gentle way, with about how you were addressing Damian, you bragged on Twitter that you didn’t care about upsetting “liberal sensibilities”. Taking delight in it wasn’t really helpful. I’d handle this differently if I had to do it again, but I would also hope the same of you.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Deborah,

    It's not just governance. It's the extent to which the community allows dissent. "Don't be a dick" is very coercive.

    Perhaps "show good grace to each other" works better for you. It means the same thing to me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    This is Benny Franklin's "don't be a dick" list.

    1. Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation."
    2. "Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation."
    3. "Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time."
    4. "Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve."
    5. "Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing."
    6. "Industry. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions."
    7. "Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly."
    8. "Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty."
    9. "Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve."
    10. "Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation."
    11. "Tranquility. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable."
    12. "Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation."
    13. "Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates."

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    How 'bout. Understand everybody is different so agree to disagree. Simple?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    but surely politics is painful, the fact that you converse anyway is to invent or progress a political point.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    It's been confirmed the Business Roundtable and the NZ Institute are merging. I still think it's either infiltration, some kind of hostile takeover, or at the very least an attempt to launder the Roundtable's reputation.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5445 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Jeremy Eade,

    12. “Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.”

    Ben was around 20 when he made that list, and he would appear to have modified his views over time on point #12. While the consensus seems to be that tales of his later-life gout-ridden lechery are exaggerated, Ben didn't seem averse to hyping his own legend.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    It's weird, is what it is.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    and Sunday Night musing.

    Why isn't Russell Brown a senior reporter for TVNZ? It offends the Alex Ferguson in me.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

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