Monday, 22 August 2011

Turn the page on hate

Everyone has words they love. I describe good-looking people as “beautiful.” I use “delicious” for all kinds of sensual pleasures. I say a concept is “contested” when I believe bringing it up in a pub chat would provoke raging debate.

And in 2011 I still thank people by saying “choice.”

I wonder just how much these fave words say about a person?

This isn’t a moment of self-reflection. Yesterday I opened the Sunday Star Times, saw Micael Laws was, once again, leading with the word “feral,” and turned the page.

Seriously, Micael, feral? It litters your columns, spat out with bile and venom. It’s true you use it liberally, not just to describe the brown underclass you appear to hate so much, but that’s the primary target.

Most recently, feral culture:

Ferals beget feral kids. No amount of state intervention – be it social worker, probation officer, child psychologist, police or health authority – can make a blind bit of difference.

For one very simple reason: ferals prefer being feral. It is a lifestyle that suits them and their outlook. It is their culture.

The week before, ferals go global, but apparently those riots in Britain have nothing to do with poverty and inequality:

In allowing the new feral underclass to not only breed, but to always be insulated from their bad decisions and worse attitudes. WE HAVE grown a culture of resentfuls in this country but not by giving them too little. By allowing them too much. Too much latitude at school, too much welfare, too much access to booze. The combination is toxic.

This isn’t a new shiny word for Micael. He’s been using “feral,” regularly from at least 2008, when his mourning for Nia Glassie took the form of calling for the death penalty and asserting:

Let’s admit that most of the underclass cannot be trusted with children. Ever. They may have the ability to procreate, but possess no sensibility to accept the responsibility. They are the underclass for a reason.

And his views about resolving the feral underclass, also from 2008?

As long as society insists upon allowing anti-social idiots to breed, and raise their children, then society will still be required to pick up the pieces.

Micael wants the feral underclass to “burn in hell.” Well, those that commit crimes at least, but it’s hard not to believe he thinks a good purge wouldn’t do NZ good when he says:

More than a year ago, when the Curtis siblings were first arraigned for the murder of the Rotorua toddler, I made the point that such persons existed as a feral underclass so removed from society and social sensibility that cruelty to small children was not perceived as either immoral or as a wrong.

Continually calling people words which dehumanise them, words which blame them for everything which happens in their lives, has only one outcome. It allows the rest of us to “other” these people. And in a New Zealand becoming progressively more divided, this means for those of us not part of the “underclass,” divorcing ourselves from how poverty, inequality, racism and colonialism operate and impact on all of our lives, right now.

Micael, I don’t have the bile and venom for you that you aim at others. But I wish you had no platform for your hate. At least I can turn the page.


Sandra said...

Spot on, LJ. Thank you. Michael Laws is one reason I buy the SST only rarely.

Hugh said...

Any reason you're spelling his name "Micael"?

Also, describing one's political opponents as "feral" has a pedigree much longer than Law's use of the word:

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Putting Michael Laws aside, what word would you use to describe people who do things to children that would terrify and torture?

LudditeJourno said...

Hugh - petty enjoyment of taking the "h" out of his name, when he refuses to acknowledge the spelling of Whanganui which local iwi wish to use.
Lindsay - I would describe them as people who have done awful things to children. I think that's a much better way of addressing that behaviour than name-calling the person.

Hugh said...

Oh right, I forgot about the whole Whanganui/Wanganui thing.

Meg said...

It must be awful being Michael Laws. Imagine being so utterly incapacitated by how much you hate everyone and everything. It would be horrible to wake up every day feeling so hateful and miserable. He hates himself that's why he finds it so easy to hate others. Dehumanising people by using terms like 'feral' has been around forever. During the Rwandan genocide Tutsi were called 'cockroaches' to stop people treating them like human beings. People need to think about their language. The 'underclass' already feel so isolated - I don't know why people want to dehumanise them on top of that. It's obviously a way to drive them into the ground further.

MelissaF said...

Lindsay Mitchell, LudditeJourno hits the nail on the head. IMO the reason Michael Laws' slurs are problematic is the way he is using them as a blanket term. He doesn't just point terms like "feral" at the individual/s who are the child abusers, there's also a strong implication that everyone who is on a benefit or part of the "underclass" (a problematic term in itself) is "feral" etc. He's fostering the attitude that everyone who lives in poverty or are on benefits "smoke, drink, drug, crime, victim and bash.". He says that the "underclass" should only receive financial aid if they are sterilised (eugenics anyone? I hate to Godwin the thread, but...). He seems to believe that humans are going down two different evolutionary paths - with the "underclass" devolving (he obviously has no idea how evolution works). He speaks in blanket terms. He others the poor & struggling. He thinks that he is innately superior, & it shocks me how cruelly he dehumanises an entire group of society. Now if he were just to say "the bastard who killed this child is a feral monster" I wouldn't take issue with it. But he's not doing that. Thanks for an excellent post LudditeJourno - I had no idea Laws' was such an asshat. (source for quotes "Michael Laws: Child Abuse Symptom of Evolving into Them and Us")

Bruce S said...

At least Michael Laws dares to depict these "people" as inhuman; it is not human to kill your kids! What do you suggest we do? Put them on a pedestal and praise them for their actions? Feel sorry for them to encourage them and their ilk to repeat the behaviour? No wonder NZ society is as sick as it is when we have commentary and false compassion such as yours!

Jan said...

Bruce S - that is one giant leap you made there.

MelissaF said...

What a lovely strawman you're attacking there, Bruce S. You're either extremely obtuse or wilfully mistruing the OP's & commenters' points. Stop making a fool of yourself.

Bruce S said...

MelissaF; well, in the words of Edgar Allan Poe - "I have great faith in fools - my friends call it self-confidence."

MelissaF said...

Bruce S - well whatever it is, it ain't working out for ya.