Monday, May 22, 2006



Pretty vile

The battle of the billboards has started again, and the below is Jordan Carter's response to National's latest lot:

While I like a good fake National billboard as much as the next person, this one is pretty vile. I know Brash likes to make much of the fact that his partner is from Singapore - but I really don't think that that is the sort of thing he should be attacked over. And quite apart from the privacy issues, I thought we on the left (and Labour still counted itself among us last time I checked) were in favour of multiculturalism? Implying that being married to a Singaporean is in some way bad smacks of exactly the sort of petty racism we are supposed to be opposed to.

18 comments:

Supposed to be opposed to???!?!??

All of the parties of the left in New Zealand are strongly supportive of 'affirmative action' - i.e., policies which discriminate on the basis of race, in an effort to correct perceived disparities that resulted from, wait for it, discrimination on the basis of race.

Posted by Duncan Bayne : 5/22/2006 04:24:00 PM

IS, I don't think that the billboard is necessarily racist, it simply reiterates the point that he does make so much of the fact his wife is from Singapore, links in the US debacle and the absurd Australia claims.

OTOH one can definitely read a touch of xenophobia in there.

Posted by Mellie : 5/22/2006 05:51:00 PM

Some evidence of Brash liking "..to make much of the fact that his partner is from Singapore" would be handy.

It's a rather nasty allegation to make.

Posted by Neil Morrison : 5/22/2006 06:53:00 PM

Some evidence of Brash liking "..to make much of the fact that his partner is from Singapore" would be handy. It's a rather nasty allegation to make.

It came from last year's slightly embarrassing fly-on-the-wall doco, which edited together multiple meet-and-greets with ethnic persons in which Brash repeatedly voluntered the information that "my wife is from Singapore, you know."

It entered the culture from there. There were more interesting parts to the programme - Richard Long playing the svengali, for example - but that stuck because ... it's funny.

Cheers,
RB

Posted by Russell Brown : 5/22/2006 07:40:00 PM

Many people are proud of being Maori or having Maori partners but that doesn't mean they should be ridiculed for it.
Personally I find it offensive. (Of course I support freedom of speech much more than I oppose offensiveness)

Posted by Genius : 5/22/2006 07:50:00 PM

Why can't Labour focus on promoting positive policy? I mean, National has finally clicked to it!

Posted by Frederick Aloysius Weld : 5/22/2006 09:40:00 PM

I'm sure that the inclusion of Je Lan has more to to with creating a good tripple construction than blatant racism. The punchline to the billboard is the last line, not the other two.

Posted by James : 5/23/2006 12:43:00 AM

Is there any difference then between Helen Clark talking about her personal life when defending herself from accusations of being "anti-family", and Brash's attempts to defend himself from accusations of "racism" by refering to his own personal circumstance? Since that is the context of his remarks.

All in all it just shows how peoples' prejudice radar gets set differently depending on who is involved.

Posted by Neil Morrison : 5/23/2006 07:35:00 AM

RB:

I guess we could keep trotting out the show reel of footage of Helen Clark and Peter Davies not being the most touchy-feely couple out there - which is also highly "amusing" to a certain kind of gutter-dweller. Gee, she's not playing suck face with hubby on national television. She must be a big ol' dyke! Could it be that Helen and Peter just aren't that big on PDAs - and some of us might me thankful for that, regardless of what we think of their politics?

It would be rather nice if the more rabid fringes of politics - on both sides - lifted their games a bit, and their enablers demanded a little accountability instead of squealing "But mummy, they do it too!" It's a tiresome line of moral reasoning from children - and one excuse I'm sure goes down well in your house, Russell.

Oh, and unlike some on the left, I actually give New Zealanders a little more credit for being able to see crude jingoism for what it is. The desperate last resort of people who've already conceded the argument.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 5/23/2006 09:10:00 AM

Oh, and here's another thought: This kind of crap isn't only vile, it's dumb politics. And the wing-nuts (left-wing division) need look no further than Helen Clark. I've never been sympathetic to her politics, but even a hardcore Tory like me really cringed at some of the more toxic personal attacks on her appearance, speculation around her sexuality etc. On one level, I say please keep up preaching to the converted with the personal attacks on Brash. But you've got to ask: Did they give Labour the expected king hit in the election campaign? Did Winnie and Trev's red-white-and-blues under the bed routine have any impact in the polls this month? Doesn't the "critise the Government = hates New Zealand" line look like the desperate last gasp of a knackered Government?

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 5/23/2006 10:15:00 AM

Can I just make it clear that I didn't create the billboard? And that I think that reading racism or xenophobia into it is really going a bit far.

The only reason for mentioning the wife thing is that it is something Brash is well known for commenting on. If "Errr" had rhymed better with the list, I'm sure we would have seen something along those lines.

Posted by Jordan : 5/23/2006 11:04:00 AM

Jordan:

That's right - you didn't create it, but I assume you're the only person who had posting privileges on Just Left? Come on, unlike most of the people I'd expect this crap from, you're intelligent enough to know what "editorial judgement" means and have the integrity to stand behind it.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 5/23/2006 12:07:00 PM

I think everyone is getting terribly prcious about this. Its game of politics, thats all. If you are not prepared to fight dirty inpolitics then you are not going to last long in the game.

As Russell Brown points out, the "My wife is from Singapore" is a piece of popular culture now.

What to me is more interesting is that National, who clearly have tons of cash, have launched a billboard campaign well outside the campaign season. Traditonally in New Zeland we don't run political ads outside election time. No wonder accusations of American influence on the National party have so much resonance...

Posted by Sanctuary : 5/23/2006 12:23:00 PM

How about "My (Doctoral) Thesis Was About Australia" (and it was - foreign investment in Oz, to be precise...)

Craig Y

Posted by Anonymous : 5/23/2006 12:51:00 PM

During last year's campaign, I found many of the mock billboards in response to the National ones absolutely hilarious. I even blogged a lot of them.

These one thoughs are just pretty lame and sad.

Posted by David Farrar : 5/23/2006 03:30:00 PM

Sanctuary:

Who's being precious? Having a spouse or a parent go into politics is hard enough, without feeling like you've got a target pinned your back for any politician or tabloid hack to take cheap shots at. I like the fact we don't have a compeltely tabloid-ised political/media culture, and I'd rather not start down a road it's near impossible to step back from.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 5/23/2006 08:23:00 PM

"My wife's from Singapore" is a statement. It doesn't imply there is anything wrong or bad about having a wife from Singapore. Nor does say anything about whether Singaporeans are good or bad. How it can be racist is beyond me.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/23/2006 08:28:00 PM

Anonymous:

"I'm a transsexual and a million years ago I was a prostitue" is just a statement of fact from Georgina Beyer. When the Density Churchers and Maxim Institution drones trot it out, I think you can safely assume it's embedded in a smear campaign.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 5/23/2006 11:26:00 PM