Sunday, 13 July 2008

Dear 'the standard'

You do not write about women very often. You have hardly a post about equal pay, reproduction or violence against women. When it was revealed that Tony Veitch, the only thing you had to say was "John Key sucks". However limited your analysis, you must acknowledge that Labour is not the cure to violence against women, and National is not the cause.

If don't have anything to say about violence against women, then that's ok. We each have a different focus, and no-one can write about everything. But if you have nothing to say, then stay silent. Please stop using women's actual lives and pain to score obscure points.

12 comments:

Tui said...

Hmm. As much as I would like to see more sensitive political commentary at the Standard, esp. with regards to feminist issues, I'm not sure that I can agree. The Standard's raison d'etre is politics; one of its chief modes of action is a process by which it takes issues which have been in the news, and analyses the policies of parties as they relate to the issues. For example, a shocking story about affordable health care might be related in the Standard to National's intentions to remove the cap on GP charges. In this case, the standard is using public outrage about domestic violence to point out that National wants to cut funding to the Families Commission, which (among other things) has been running an ad campaign against domestic violence. It's the same process. Would it be cool to see a post there commenting sensitively about the patriarchal culture and the culture of domestic violence in New Zealand, how this is related to poverty, how the Maori party has spoken out against it, etc? Hells, yes. Does that mean that the posts they're making ought to be construed as points-scoring on the back of people's pain? I don't think so.

I mean, I definitely see where you're coming from. It's insanely frustrating when politicians use people's pain to say "Ooh, the government isn't doing a good job, condemn, condemn!" But I think there's a difference between saying "National's responsible for domestic violence" and saying "National is going to cut funding fo the Families Commission, which works against domestic violence." You know?

QoT said...

Oh, Standard. Maybe they'll offer to get a female blogger to do a guest post on it again, and when questioned why none of the regular Standard guys could be bothered doing their own post, they'll say "There's no such thing as an "official Standard position", and we totes don't see how our silence speaks volumes to our regular readers" again. /pissy

Anonymous said...

Dear Maia

You do not write about the poor very often. You have hardly a post about employment issues, homelessness or access to healthcare. When it was revealed that poverty in New Zealand had increased since 2000 and was still increasing, the only thing you had to say was "patriarchy sucks". However limited your analysis, you must acknowledge that feminism is not the cure to violence against the working class, and patriarchy is not the cause.

If don't have anything to say about the marginalisation of the poor, then that's ok. We each have a different focus, and no-one can write about everything. But if you have nothing to say, then stay silent. Please stop using the working class's actual lives and pain to score obscure points.

George Darroch said...

Anon - Maia has a lot to say about class politics and capitalism, and she actually goes out and does a hell of a lot to stand up for those beliefs. Your glib snark is as insulting as it is false.

Maia said...

anonymous: That's an arrow that completely misses it's mark. here are my posts tagged paid work and unions and here are my posts on unemployment and social welfare (although the distribution of wealth and the problems of capitalism are discussed. I don't suggest that feminism is the cure to the marginalisation of the poor, because I don't want to cure the marginilisation of the poor I want to end capitalism. I don't even use the word patriarchy

If you wanted to be more accurate, you could have pointed out that I don't write very much about colonialism and tino rangatiratanga. But when I do I don't just use them to push my own random barrow.

tui - I know that 99% of all posts at the standard are 'John Key sucks' - so it's not surprising. But if they don't have a political analysis outside 'John Key sucks' they need to stop stretching everything to that. If they want to talk about the family commission, that's fine, but to piggy back on to Tony Veitch is exploitative.

Anonymous said...

So Maia you feel that it's possible to end the marginalisation of the poor without ending capitalism? That's an interesting perspective. Similarly, you say:

I don't suggest that feminism is the cure to the marginalisation of the poor, because I don't want to cure the marginilisation of the poor I want to end capitalism.

This seems to imply that you feel feminism is the way to end capitalism. Correct?

As for your pointing out posts where you have discussed poverty-related issues, that's interesting, but I note that Steve from the Standard has done much the same on your blog pointing out posts where the Standard has outlined its stance on gender related issues. Or do you not feel there's a parallel?

Ari said...

Tui, "political commentary" does not mean partisan bickering. One thing I've noticed is that unless it involves a National vs Labour pissing contest or civil rights, the Standard aren't hugely interested. They're great at pointing out when Right-wing parties are pushing discount fertiliser, but that's not the same as dealing with wider political issues.

The proper response to "bad things happen" is "so what's the cause, and can we get rid of it?", not "hey, our opponents want to make things worse".

But I think there's a difference between saying "National's responsible for domestic violence" and saying "National is going to cut funding fo the Families Commission, which works against domestic violence." You know?

Right, the difference between frustrating and annoying. ;)

Tui said...

but that's not the same as dealing with wider political issues.

When I claim that the Standard is deeply invested in political comment on a wide range of issues, you can shoot me in the head. (Or, OK, point and laugh. Guns are bad.) I'm well aware that ain't so. (IMO, the Standard is chiefly useful as stress relief to people who already agree with the perspectives of the staff; in the balanced diet of blog reading, it's lollies for left-wingers. It can be useful when you want to come up with a suitable smackdown when you're fighting with someone who disagrees with you, and it's genuinely informative for me when it comes to civil rights issues - but it's still confectionary.*)

The proper response to "bad things happen" is "so what's the cause, and can we get rid of it?", not "hey, our opponents want to make things worse".

Er, yeah - but you still need to know who to vote for.

*Lindt to, say, Kiwiblog's Hershey's, perhaps. In this metaphor, Public Address is potatoes and No Right Turn is meat. Some suitably intelligent righty blog which I don't read can be codliver oil. ;) The Hand Mirror (and other blogs of marginalised perspectives) is salt and pepper. Frogblog is greens!

Russell Brown said...

I can certainly see Maia's point, but as I pointed out here ...

http://publicaddress.net/system/topic,1214,hard_news_so_far_from_trivial.sm?p=59119#post59119

... the passage from which Key's quote is taken is a horrible bit of dog-whistling in response to written questions from the Parents Centres' magazine. None of the other parties that responded took such an approach.

The response to the question about the Families Commission seemed to rather strongly imply that the likes of the (remarkably succcessful) family violence campaign are some affection of Wellington bureaucrats, rather than something that serves "everyday parents". It was worth highlighting, just perhaps not in Standardspeak.

Maia said...

Anonymous - that's some truly random interpretation. My objection to your phrase 'marginalisation of the poor' was that it is euphamistic. It leaves your audience unclear about whether you think this can be achieved under capitalism or not. I don't think it can be, so I say what I want directly.

Look if you want to argue that I only write about poverty and class to further a feminist agenda, then you're going to have to demonstrate it rather than just state it (I would point out that I linked to categories, rather than posts. I know that Steve Pierson can only look a posts, because I checked what they had about equal pay, violence against women and reproduction). I know that I don't. I know that I've written about every major (and most minor) piece of industrial action since I've begun blogging. I know that I don't think that ending patriarchy will end, so I don't write as if I did (as I pointed out I don't even use the word patriarchy). So make an argument if you want, but stop throwing random words around as a substitute.

Rusell and Tui: Just to be clear, I'm not objecting to the families commission being raised (while not thinking it's really low on the priority list when it comes to issues of violence against women), but the context in which it was raised.

Anonymous said...

Maia, I'm sorry you feel my intepretation is 'random' but it's the impression I took from your comment.

I'd say more but I'm unclear what you mean when you say "I know that I don't think that ending patriarchy will end". I think I know what you mean, but rather than risk more random intepretation I thought I'd give you a chance to clarify.

Ari said...

Tui:
Er, yeah - but you still need to know who to vote for.

Generally I like people to decide that for themselves after some good public discourse. ;)

Russel:
The response to the question about the Families Commission seemed to rather strongly imply that the likes of the (remarkably succcessful) family violence campaign are some affection of Wellington bureaucrats, rather than something that serves "everyday parents". It was worth highlighting, just perhaps not in Standardspeak.

That's pretty much how I feel.