But on Monday morning, I read out passages from the Kiwiblog thread to a distinctly “multicultural” group of university students and it didn’t seem so funny. I was ostensibly present to extoll the virtues of citizen media, but I felt obliged to point out that the great digital town square was also crowded with angry, paranoid racists. Even in New Zealand.
I’ve received correspondence about this and I feel I ought to address it. With the benefit of hindsight I’m willing to acknowledge the validity of comparisons to the kind misfire only David Brent would attempt. I was obviously well outside my brief, the dramatization of excerpts from Kiwiblog being the biggest lapse in judgement on my part. As one critic suggested, “this information could probably have best been provided in the form of a URL, or at the very most a slide”, and no I wasn’t just killing time.
In answer to those who accused me of “mansplaining to the converted” let’s be clear, my conclusion above is in no way intended to imply that any of the university students party to my presentation would be unaware of paranoid racism as it exists in New Zealand, either online or off.
A Government subsidised lecture on the virtues of citizen media is not an appropriate time to be reading out excerpts of hate speech from marginalizing websites, I am concerned that my actions and some of my subsequent conclusions have been unduly influenced by my conflation of Anders Behring Breivik’s incendiary document and the atrocity he committed. For this I apologise.