Tuesday, 15 July 2014

How you gonna come?

I've been hating on the SS Times since their editorial on Sunday which called Tania Billingsley a self-confessed 'activist' (h/t Russell Brown). What a repugnant and revealing expression.

Life serves up tricky questions all the time and we choose whether to ignore them or respond in a more active way. An old woman falls in the street - do you passively avoid her or actively help? What if she was being robbed - look away or do something? In both cases, most of us would be active and would not feel ashamed about helping out. No need for confession.

What then is the essential difference between this kind of activism and the stuff the SS Times considers shameful? Both seek to help victims, that's for sure. But they do so in quite different ways. Administering aid is universally admired activism but seeking to change the conditions that give rise to the need for aid, as Billingsley has done, is somehow dirty or sinful.

The reason for this distinction is perfectly obvious: political sensitivities. Billingsley raised the broader issue of rape culture, and criticized McCully's bungling and Key's boredom. That's three strikes, all at once. Not to mention the timing: just as we were all having such fun laughing at Cunliffe. This is why the SS Times went for her.*

They missed the irony of course, which is their own activism. Bravely stepping in to smack down Ms Billingsley who they consider a dangerous perpetrator, of something.

Speaking of such things, Bill English is reported today as saying the NZ is "not taking sides" in the latest genocide by Israeli. This takes the passive strategy to a whole new level. We can all see the old woman being kicked to death by a gang, but we look the other way and pretend that what's happening is a fair fight. Not even lip service to human rights or dignity. Despicable.

And now, in preparation for work, I shall rinse my brain out with the Clash.

*The patronising concern troll stuff does not deserve a response.

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