Cry havoc

datePosted on 18:38, April 27th, 2009 by Lew

DPF is up to his old tricks again – this one about Hone Harawira is content-free and David’s own comments are typically innocuous, but it functions very well indeed as a bone for the slavering mastiffs of the KBR to gnaw upon, making him look like a sensible moderate, if you squint a bit. For once, this one wasn’t tagged `Fun Things’.

All the necessary ingredients are there – race, privilege, power differential, obscenity and homophobia – because all minorities are equivalent, right?

Aspiring demagogues, take note.

L

45 Responses to “Cry havoc”

  1. Pablo on April 27th, 2009 at 21:10

    To be fair to DPF, he was just reporting what was stated in the Waikato Times via Stuff. You are correct in that his comments were not incitements to anything. Therefore, should he be condemned just because his readers exhibit the nasty traits you describe? I agree with you completely about his readership–in fact, his comments threads are exactly what we do not want here at KP. I wish that he would be more proactive in removing the nasty invective from the threads. But since it is is his blog, so be it. Does that make him culpable? In this case I do not think so. Other posts of his have been more partisan and mean spirited, for which he can be rightfully criticised, but in this case his “cry” seems more mischievous than mean. It is his more rabid readers who are the freaks who go off on such “news.”

  2. Lew on April 27th, 2009 at 21:23

    Pablo,

    By my analysis, the purpose of Kiwiblog’s lax moderation policy is to make DPF look sensible, thoughtful and moderate in contrast to those who comment there. From time to time David picks up an issue like this and brings it to their attention, saying nothing and doing nothing to lead the comments, but with full awareness of the sort of response which will result. Whether he means to achieve this end or not is unknowable and irrelevant; this is a well-worn and proven mass arousal technique. It’s similar to the dog-whistle, hence my choice of metaphor.

    An earlier example is Helen Clark falling over: cue comments like “stupid bint should have broken her neck”; comments not strictly endorsed but tolerated on such a scale of vituperation as to imply endorsement.

    L

  3. Pablo on April 27th, 2009 at 21:38

    Lew: thanks for subtext translation. My impression of DPF is that he is one of the more reasonable people on the Right but that he lets the circus loose in his comment threads for reasons that, as you mention, we probably will never really know. I do remember that HC falling down clip/post, and yes, the comments were nasty. But that was nothing compared to the craziness on other right-wing blogs! You would have thought that the SIS would have taken an interest at some of the things said in those forums but no, they are too busy keeping tabs on the domestic “threats” posed not by right-wing nutbars but by eco-militants. indigenous sovereignty activists and anarchists
    Go figure.

  4. Quoth the Raven on April 27th, 2009 at 22:12

    Not to mention the death of Helen Clark’s friend Braun Elwert that was a truly despicable display from the Kiwiblog right.

  5. jcuknz on April 27th, 2009 at 22:19

    Could kiwiblog be a useful safety value for those who enjoy gutter talk? What does KBR stand for? It is a shame that Maori are so set on the ‘people of the land’ nonsense becuase while I accept for example the Aussie aboriginals are that, the folk who just arrived a few hundred years before the rest are simply trying to pull a fast one in my book. I’m sure a lot of intelligent young people think so too which I expect started/fueled the situation when they spoke their minds and Hone did so in return etc etc. The student was a precious ass to complain afterwards … and I understand he runs a blog … he is rather immature.

  6. gingercrush on April 27th, 2009 at 22:36

    I rather admire that inherent honesty from the right. Sure some of it is rather nasty and goes way too far. But they don’t tend to hide anything, perhaps they’re merely too truthful.

    On the contrary certain left blogs and certain people who reply to left blogs and would identify left are too nasty. They exhibit an ability to act above everything and display a blatant holier-than-thou attitude. Rather than being honest with how they feel, they hide behind language. They’re subtle, nothing is obvious. But dig underneath what they’re saying, you soon reveal something that is just as nasty and perhaps even a little more dangerous.

  7. Lew on April 27th, 2009 at 22:39

    Pablo,

    I agree, the rest of NZ’s right, libertarian and conservative bloggers make David look like a mealy-mouthed pinko, with very few exceptions. And I don’t mean to imply that he’s pretending to be moderate – I think he genuinely is moderate, within his paradigm.

    jcuknz,

    Could kiwiblog be a useful safety value for those who enjoy gutter talk? What does KBR stand for?

    Well, yes, but to continue the metaphor: the blogosphere functions largely as a compression chamber, the pressure within which is concentrated by constant, steady agitation and periodically released in more or less directed bursts. Recent examples of such bursts include the campaigns against Winston Peters and the Electoral Finance Act; the campaign against the Auckland supercity project is another. Since the comments I’m talking about are a part of the means of building that pressure, the release is really incidental – like the whistle a steam boiler.

    KBR stands for `Kiwiblog Right’.

    It is a shame that Maori are so set on the ‘people of the land’ nonsense becuase while I accept for example the Aussie aboriginals are that, the folk who just arrived a few hundred years before the rest are simply trying to pull a fast one in my book.

    This is among the more absurd things I’ve read from you. How long would be long enough?

    How about a car analogy: suppose you purchase a brand new car, and, driving it off the lot with your signed papers and the cash in the dealer’s hands, I hop in the passenger’s seat and claim that since you’ve only owned it for a few minutes it’s not really yours, and force you to let me drive it to wherever I want, and keep driving it, and then after a while (of me mostly driving it, but giving you a go now and again, but only around the block) I claim that you’re not making good enough use of the car so I’m going to claim it (for your own good) and that I’ll drive you wherever you like (as long as I’m going there), and then I object to your protestations of ownership, even to the point of ignoring the papers in the glovebox with your name listed as the owner. Would that be morally reasonable? How long a gap between your leaving the car yard and my arrival would make that wrong?

    L

  8. Lew on April 27th, 2009 at 22:41

    The order of posts got a bit screwy there – I’ve changed the times to restore the order.

    L

  9. Anita on April 27th, 2009 at 23:16

    I took us out of daylight savings (again). Bad things happened. :(

    On the up side, only coming out of daylight savings makes bad things happen :)

  10. Quoth the Raven on April 27th, 2009 at 23:21

    Ginger – A bit of a blanket statement from you. I don’t think there’s any inherent honesty from the right. Would they say this kind of thing in polite company not merely in the safe anonymity of the blogosphere? They’re as prone to dishonesty as anyone and more importantly to inauthenticity and self-deception.

  11. SPC on April 28th, 2009 at 00:41

    It’s more a case of the Kiwiblog host being in a minority in the National Party as a social and political liberal (thus using language and concepts understandable to liberals of the centre and left) – rather than being a moderate. Otherwise he is very much a right winger in economic ideology.

    His committment to his political liberal principles goes awol on occasion such as in the referendum in Auckland (but that is true for all partisans) and because of his greater committent to his right wing economic ideology – (because of the advantages that the Super Council offers the right if public opposition can be ignored).

  12. marty mars on April 28th, 2009 at 09:55

    If DPF didn’t have a comments section – he wouldn’t have a blog. Personally it doesn’t bother me what they say, it’s so over the top and alien to my thinking that i find it amusing and actually non-threatening. After all most of the commentators are just trying to build their name to get their own blog noticed.
    Any debate about indigenous rights will not occur on kiwiblog. As for Hone, I back him 110%.

    The real issue for me is the acceptance in our society of colonisation and the rights of tangata whenua. The line that maori are just the first immigrants to this land, or just another minority group, is used to help colonisers (in attitude) develop their mythology, to justify their continued occupation (culturally and physically) of this land, as in the “We are all Kiwis” approach.

  13. jcuknz on April 28th, 2009 at 14:06

    Thw South Africans got rid of apatheid and instead of trying to build a unified society we seem to be working towards something similar for New Zealand. The new car angle is really rather silly. I am not saying that Maori were not treated abomibly by the settlers but that the ‘People of the Land’ is a stupid argument, Any group with the proportion of the population that maori are could if they got organised get represetation in Super City … but it seems they don’t really want it unless it is handed to them on a plate. If there was a Maori in my electorates [local or national seats] who was good value I would vote for them ahead of others.

  14. David Farrar on April 28th, 2009 at 14:10

    Sigh – I can’t win. If I had not blogged on it, people would accuse me of not covering it because Hone is a Maori Party MP and they are in coalition of sorts with National.

    God forbid how anyone thinks I have some secret motive to wind up anger against a Maori Party MP, when they are supporting National. I am sure National would rather I had not mentioned it.

  15. Lew on April 28th, 2009 at 14:34

    David,

    God forbid how anyone thinks I have some secret motive to wind up anger against a Maori Party MP, when they are supporting National.

    I don’t think that at all. It doesn’t seem to me to be about either Hone or National; it’s about keeping your audience piqued. And I don’t think it’s secret or a conspiracy – as I said above I don’t even care if you do it on purpose. It’s the effect I’m interested in.

    jcuknz,

    Thw South Africans got rid of apatheid and instead of trying to build a unified society we seem to be working towards something similar for New Zealand.

    This is absurd. The Treaty guarantees Māori a governance role; systems such as mana whenua allocations are simply a means of ensuring that guarantee is adequately implemented. If you object to the Treat, fine – but realise that it’s not something which can just be wished out of existence or declared a simple nullity – you have to live with it.

    The new car angle is really rather silly. I am not saying that Maori were not treated abomibly by the settlers but that the ‘People of the Land’ is a stupid argument

    You don’t have any counter-arguments, so it’s silly and a stupid argument. I see.

    L

  16. StephenR on April 28th, 2009 at 15:14

    The Treaty guarantees Māori a governance role; systems such as mana whenua allocations are simply a means of ensuring that guarantee is adequately implemented.

    So merely having the opportunity for a governance role (conventional democracy – no guaranteed seats for anyone) would be a serious violation of the treaty/treaty principles/what have you?

    Not particularly au fait with treaty matters, so bear with me if you will.

  17. Lew on April 28th, 2009 at 15:29

    StephenR,

    So merely having the opportunity for a governance role (conventional democracy – no guaranteed seats for anyone) would be a serious violation of the treaty/treaty principles/what have you?

    This was (partly) the principle behind the Māori seats when first implemented: although Māori were not prohibited from voting, there were a lot of structural barriers to them doing so (franchise based on land ownership, etc.), so the seats were implemented as a proxy for representation they might otherwise have got.

    L

  18. StephenR on April 28th, 2009 at 15:39

    Seeing as there are no structural barriers to voting now (except for perhaps having an address), why are seats necessary (or is it just the Treaty)?

  19. Fo on April 28th, 2009 at 15:50

    “tephenR on April 28th, 2009 at 3:39 pm Seeing as there are no structural barriers to voting now (except for perhaps having an address), why are seats necessary (or is it just the Treaty)?”

    Because of political cowardice? There is a fear it would lead to civil unrest. Under MMP the Royal Commission apparently recommended they should go (Lew will know the details better than me).

    Of course under First Past the Post there is a good argument for them.

  20. Anita on April 28th, 2009 at 16:04

    Fo,

    Of course under First Past the Post there is a good argument for them.

    Council elections are FPP, so presumably the good argument transfers to local government elections and there should be separate councillors?

  21. Fo on April 28th, 2009 at 16:12

    “Fo,

    Of course under First Past the Post there is a good argument for them.

    Council elections are FPP, so presumably the good argument transfers to local government elections and there should be separate councillors?”

    Yes, the same argument would apply. I prefer not having racial seats so wouldn’t want to see them extended to councils. Next there would be demands for Pacific Island or Asian representatives.

  22. Fo on April 28th, 2009 at 16:22

    “but it functions very well indeed as a bone for the slavering mastiffs of the KBR to gnaw upon”

    If Hone answered the guys question there would be nothing to post about.

    Is it a kind of thoughtcrime to complain about his behaviour because he’s from a victimised group?

    Presumably if anyone else behaved like this (say David Garrett from ACT) other bloggers would also be picking up on it?

  23. Lew on April 28th, 2009 at 16:29

    StephenR,

    Seeing as there are no structural barriers to voting now (except for perhaps having an address), why are seats necessary (or is it just the Treaty)?

    A very common and reasonable question. There are a number of reasons, chief amongst them being that society now has a greater understanding of what constitutes a structural barrier to electoral access – not just to voting. Access to education, the media, business and civic networks and so on. There are other reasons, but the one Fo cites is largely a red herring.

    Fo,

    Yes, the same argument would apply. I prefer not having racial seats so wouldn’t want to see them extended to councils. Next there would be demands for Pacific Island or Asian representatives.

    This is exactly the sort of comment which got Steve Baron chewed out by Hone Harawira. Māori don’t have guaranteed electoral representation because they’re a minority – they have it because they’re the tangata whenua, by whose leave the initial settlers got to settle – leave that (among other things) they granted in exchange for certain guarantees (most of which they didn’t get).

    The slippery slope argument you’re trying to make strictly and explicitly does not apply here. It is a common fearmongering technique and a post-hoc rationalisation for a knee-jerk opinion based on ignorance of the issues at stake here.

    L

  24. Lew on April 28th, 2009 at 16:32

    Fo,

    Is it a kind of thoughtcrime to complain about his behaviour because he’s from a victimised group?

    I made no comment whatever on Hone Harawira’s behaviour, or that of Steve Barron. I think both were idiotic about it, to be frank, but that’s not the issue.

    L

  25. SPC on April 28th, 2009 at 16:39

    Maori were promised iwi self government – post the break-up of iwi land holdings this can only occur via protected representation within the greater governance.

  26. Lew on April 28th, 2009 at 16:45

    SPC,

    Maori were promised iwi self government – post the break-up of iwi land holdings this can only occur via protected represetnation within the greater governance.

    Well, yes and no. I don’t think either Tino Rangatiratanga or Kawanatanga necessarily require separate governance structures which apply strictly in that way. But I do think that whatever those terms should constitute is a matter for Māori to decide – and it should be noted that mostly they haven’t decided to pursue separate parallel governance structures.

    L

  27. Fo on April 28th, 2009 at 17:19

    “The slippery slope argument you’re trying to make strictly and explicitly does not apply here.”

    I agree the Maori seats issue has separate considerations, which you refer to.

    The fearmongering is based on the fact that there have been calls for further racial representation in terms of pacific seats. Helene Ritchie had a piece in the DomPost the other day suggesting this (as part of things she thought could be improved). A similar call was made in respect of Waitakere/West Akl a year or so ago.

  28. Lew on April 28th, 2009 at 17:25

    Fo,

    The fearmongering is based on the fact that there have been calls for further racial representation in terms of pacific seats.

    Calls by idiots who don’t understand what they’re talking about, mostly; although I recall that Tariana Turia, in a particularly bizarre spasm of political expansionism, once suggested that Pasifika people be allowed to register on the Māori roll as well.

    L

  29. Fo on April 28th, 2009 at 17:27

    “Is it a kind of thoughtcrime to complain about his behaviour because he’s from a victimised group?

    I made no comment whatever on Hone Harawira’s behaviour, or that of Steve Barron. I think both were idiotic about it, to be frank, but that’s not the issue.”

    Well, that’s the thing, I’m not really sure what the issue is here. You think DPF should not have posted this story? Or he should have turned the comments section off?

    Again, I refer to the example of David Garrett – if he’d been involved in a similar incident would you be opposed to people blogging about it?

  30. Lew on April 28th, 2009 at 17:34

    Fo,

    No, I think DPF should do as DPF pleases on his own site, and am not opposed to him doing so – I just reserve the right to remark upon it. I think I’ve made my opinion pretty clear – that the post wasn’t so much an opportunity for David to comment on the story as a chance for his commentariat to raise their bile, and that I think that’s a smart play to his audience but a bit opportunistic. That isn’t to say I want it to change. I just wanted to point it out.

    If people want to do the same about Garrett or anyone else – use him or his utterances or actions as a springboard for discourse on some subject or other – then well and good.

    L

  31. Fo on April 28th, 2009 at 17:36

    “Calls by idiots who don’t understand what they’re talking about, mostly”

    True, but I think some people would group them in as an underrepresented minority (overlooking the Treaty point) who require a leg up (as happens with quotas to law & medicine).

    “although I recall that Tariana Turia, in a particularly bizarre spasm of political expansionism, once suggested that Pasifika people be allowed to register on the Māori roll as well.”

    See I felt that was consistent with her comment about
    restricting immigration. Both are related to the number of Maori seats she can get.

  32. Fo on April 28th, 2009 at 17:51

    “and that I think that’s a smart play to his audience but a bit opportunistic.”

    His audience seems to vary quite a bit. There are some interesting comments on there from someone else who was at the lecture apparently and one from Faron himself at the end.

    It probably is opportunistic, but sites like the Standard seem to make a sport out of ridiculing MP’s they don’t like. I guess throwing some meat to the pack has to be done from time to time!

  33. StephenR on April 28th, 2009 at 17:56

    A very common and reasonable question. There are a number of reasons, chief amongst them being that society now has a greater understanding of what constitutes a structural barrier to electoral access – not just to voting. Access to education, the media, business and civic networks and so on. There are other reasons, but the one Fo cites is largely a red herring.

    Yes I thought it’d be a common question, and hoped it would be a reasonable one. However you refer to structural barriers to electoral access as perhaps being constrained by education and the like – I can’t see how these constitute a “barrier to electoral access”, whether that be in voting or running for a seat, which makes me think you’re referring to something other than voting or running…?

  34. StephenR on April 28th, 2009 at 18:11

    I expected a bit more from Willy Jackson on this too (not sure why now) – his reasoning for Maori seats was that Pakeha are ‘too racist’ for Maori to have a chance, ugh. From his column in the Central Leader a few weeks back.

  35. SPC on April 28th, 2009 at 20:57

    At some point we will have to decide a nationwide policy on Maori representation (outside of parliament itself) – it could be simply be a universal “non voting” representative (independent voice) chosen by Maori alongside the “generally elected” chosen by all.

  36. jcuknz on April 28th, 2009 at 21:29

    You don’t have any counter-arguments, so it’s silly and a stupid argument. I see.

    I gave you the argument concisely earlier. “Instead of being natives of the land as for example the Aboriginals they only arrived a few hundred years ahead of ‘the settlers’” For that basic reason I see it as a rather silly and stupid claim … it just doesn’t hold water for a moment. It seems for all your knowledge of the subject you are blind to this logical conclusion. Never mind …..

  37. Lew on April 28th, 2009 at 22:31

    jcuknz,

    I gave you the argument concisely earlier. “Instead of being natives of the land as for example the Aboriginals they only arrived a few hundred years ahead of ‘the settlers’”

    To which I replied: how long would they have to be here before they were genuine natives? How much exclusive and undisturbed possession is required for you to accept their claim of indigeneity? And the car analogy to illustrate the fallacy.

    You ignored the question, so I thought you’d abandoned that particularly idiotic line of reasoning. I’m sorry to see that’s not the case, so: can you explain how long, or what other criteria a group must fulfil in order to be proper natives?

    L

  38. Lew on April 28th, 2009 at 22:40

    StephenR,

    However you refer to structural barriers to electoral access as perhaps being constrained by education and the like – I can’t see how these constitute a “barrier to electoral access”, whether that be in voting or running for a seat, which makes me think you’re referring to something other than voting or running…?

    Fundamentally it’s that we no longer have a 19th Century definition of what constitutes political access – in those days, voting alone was considered good enough. Nowadays, other forms of access – to legal systems, to consultation mechanisms such as select committee, to an understanding of the policy process, to access to business and civic networks which inform that process. Not to mention the fact that the entire system is conducted in a language and according to traditions which are expressly English in origin, with only the most token acknowledgement of tikanga Māori. Lack of those factors I mentioned are a constraint on effective participation and electoral viability in a society which values a lot of achievements common to Pākehā but quite uncommon to Māori. You could argue that Māori should just adapt, but that’s the point of the Treaty – they shouldn’t have to.

    L

  39. Fo on April 28th, 2009 at 23:23

    “Lack of those factors I mentioned are a constraint on effective participation and electoral viability in a society”

    By that definition about 99% of the Pakeha population are disenfranchised or lack access too.

  40. Lew on April 29th, 2009 at 08:43

    Fo,

    By that definition about 99% of the Pakeha population are disenfranchised or lack access too.

    No. Access to such things is normative, and Pākehā are the norm against which other groups are benchmarked. Certainly there are subsets of Pākehā who lack such access – but when taken on aggregate we’re quite firmly in charge.

    The observation does reveal one of the important issues, though: there are multiple non-exclusive dimensions of identity: ethnicity is the one I’m referring to but there’s also class, and others. You can break it down as far as you want, and any decision to privilege one over another is a judgement call – I don’t mean to exclude other dimensions, and essentially I think people need to be free to pick their primary identification. This is a major point of difference between some aspects of the Marxist left (much of the trade union movement, for example) with the māori party: they (the Marxist left) sees class as the defining matter of identity; so workers of all ethnicities should suppress their ethnic or other agendas in favour of class struggle. Needless to say, I don’t buy this one: it’s colonialism in a cloth cap.

    L

  41. jcuknz on April 29th, 2009 at 11:04

    You ignored the question, so I thought you’d abandoned that particularly idiotic line of reasoning. I’m sorry to see that’s not the case, so: can you explain how long, or what other criteria a group must fulfil in order to be proper natives?

    One man’s idiocy is another’s good logic … they were the early settlers, definitely not natives, though by some standards one could call them natives as they had not then been abused by the european culture.

  42. Fo on April 29th, 2009 at 12:59

    “This is a major point of difference between some aspects of the Marxist left (much of the trade union movement, for example) with the māori party: they (the Marxist left) sees class as the defining matter of identity; so workers of all ethnicities should suppress their ethnic or other agendas in favour of class struggle.”

    Yes, well that’s been clear with the rise of identity politics. Something Don Brash was able to use as a wedge as many whites resent the double standard of being colourblind on the one hand while ethnocentrism & collectivism is encouraged in other groups.

    Identity politics does seem inevitable though to some extent given human nature.

    “Certainly there are subsets of Pākehā who lack such access”

    See if you are referring to the more complex mechanisms of the political process, I think the majority of people have no clue how it all works. They all do know how to vote though.

  43. student_still on April 29th, 2009 at 15:38

    Personally, I agree with Lew’s assertion that DPF deliberately allows highly questionable and quite often narrow minded and biggoted comment be posted onto his blog to actively distance himself from/elevate himself above all the worst ranting right-wingers out there. This allows him to present himself as pleasantly ‘centre-right’ and a lot more palatable. I also think Farrar gets some sort of intellectual satisfaction out of appearing more open minded and politically knowledgeable than your general kiwiblog poster, there is definitely a hierarchy there that Farrar neatly maintains. This is vastly different from the equality of opinion that is shared over at The Standard, or here, or the Hand Mirror. I get the impression that Farrar likes to throw his loyal kiwiblog subjects little titbits of right-wing propaganda, and leave them to squabble over the scraps in the comments section of his blog, and it works bloody well!

    Unfortunately, I don’t for a second believe that David Farrar is of exceptional intelligence or political ability, as is reinforced by his often glaring spelling and grammatical errors. I also believe that Farrar is another political spin sidekick that ‘talks up’ his chummy-ness with politicians, and the actual influence he has. If Farrar is supposedly a prime example of National affiliated media/PR personnel, I feel sad(der) for National.

    Of course there is an ulterior motive here for Farrar, as he is well aware of the racist and biggoted tirade this thread will descend into. He knows his post on Hawera will simply add fuel to the fire, and will therefore keep the comments section of his blog flowing, and his readership up.

  44. curious on April 29th, 2009 at 22:18

    No. Access to such things is normative, and Pākehā are the norm against which other groups are benchmarked. Certainly there are subsets of Pākehā who lack such access – but when taken on aggregate we’re quite firmly in charge.

    Lew, out of interest, who are you referring to when you say Pakeha? Because it seems you are lumping in many people, including minorities who arguably in some instances face as many if not more barriers than Maori, into one amorphous group. Us and them if you like.

  45. Lew on April 30th, 2009 at 09:11

    curious,

    Lew, out of interest, who are you referring to when you say Pakeha? Because it seems you are lumping in many people, including minorities who arguably in some instances face as many if not more barriers than Maori, into one amorphous group. Us and them if you like.

    Fair question, but I’m not sure which communities you’re referring to. If you mean other immigrant communities, then no – in that case I’d have referred to them as ‘Tau Iwi’. The sense in which I employ ‘Pākehā’ is that of common usage: those born or predominantly brought up in NZ of Anglo/European extraction. Classifications like this are always complicated and inadvertently include or exclude some people, and I’m aware of the challenges faced by some European groups (my paternal grandmother’s family changed their name from Kearns to Cairns when they got here in order to avoid being pegged as the Irish Catholics that they were), but it’s a useful shorthand nonetheless.

    L

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