Thursday, May 19, 2005

A cheerleader for sadism

Garth George is spreading his poison memes in the Herald this morning, with his condemnation of the investigation into David Benson-Pope. According to George, Benson-Pope

...has become the latest victim of those who judge historic behaviour by the "standards" of today, which are not standards at all but an amorphous mass of prejudice parading as "tolerance" - and "rights".

Mr Benson-Pope is alleged, in his long-ago schoolteacher days, to have shoved a tennis ball into the mouth of some disobedient and yappy young punk, then taped his hands to his desk so he couldn’t pull it out. And to have thrown tennis balls at inattentive pupils.

So what? It sounds hugely creative and highly effective to me. And it’s a damn shame there isn’t a bit more of such discipline in our schools today - cricket balls, perhaps.

Unfortunately, George makes exactly the same mistake he did when trying to whitewash the abuse of army cadets at Waiouru. Benson-Pope's behaviour is not being judged by today's standards, but by the standards of his time. And as the Herald's editorial points out, some of what is alleged - striking someone across the face so that their nose bled; the use of a tennis ball as a gag - was illegal even in the 80's, and if substantiated, should result in criminal charges. It is therefore only appropriate that they have been passed on to police.

George's sickening attempt to justify sadism and abuse does serve one useful purpose, however, in pointing out why complaints weren't laid at the time:

Complaints weren’t made at the time because to complain was to be labelled a tattle-tail and a wimp and to become a pariah. As it was in my day.

But who promoted this culture of silence? Bullies, abusers, and their supporters - supporters like Garth George.


All the same, the DBP 'story' is such a *pointless* waste of time and media. Got charges? Lay them. Same as anyone else.
Can we move on now?

Posted by Anonymous : 5/19/2005 09:12:00 PM

If BP wasn't appointed as the front man for the government's anti-bullying campaign he would not be in such a pickle.

Gimp-gagging, thrashing till they bleed, smacking across the face and throwing/hitting with tennis balls is contrary to the spirit of that campaign.

Charges/schmarges. The guy deserves to be embarassed and lose that portfolio- and he has been.

The irony is the Labour party hack reaction of blaming the victims and even blaming the victims for speaking up. Shame. The whole point of bullying is that it is often a hidden misery for the victims while the abuser struts around often covered up by the establishment and their peers.

If Gerry Brownlee had done that sort of thing you would never hear the end of it from those same Labour hacks so quick to let BP off the hook.

I have heard enough evidence now to conclude that BP did those things. I don't think it is worth a prosecution and the report ordered by the PM will probably conclude the same thing. Then the hacks will probably say that absolves BP. Na. He's a nasty piece of work - quarter of a century in his own fifedom telling kids what to do and when and taking the physical discipline duties upon himself - used to having everything his own way. In my experience they are the worst bullies. And he almost got away with it. If only he had been evasive in parliament he could have side-stepped the inevitable consequences.

Posted by Bomber : 5/19/2005 11:04:00 PM

This is the Herald trying to get away from the fact that if Pope is found to have done these things then he lied to parliament!
Why isn't this the focus issue?

Posted by Anonymous : 5/20/2005 12:25:00 AM

7G: Because frankly it's less important. Criminal wrongdoing rates a little higher in my book than games about who-said-what-and-when. And in any case, any determination as to whether Benson-Pope misled Parliament will have to wait until the criminal inquiry (and prosecution) is complete, simply to avoid prejudicing it.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/20/2005 01:11:00 AM

Idiot -

FWIW, here's a letter I sent to the Herald -

"I find it rather amusing that Garth George, fearless slayer of political
correctness, is running a most PC line in defence of David Benson-Pope.

We really shouldn't judge his (alleged) 'historical' misconduct by modern
norms of civilised and lawful behaviour - or even the legal standards of the
time - because, well, things were different then. Everybody did it, and we
shouldn't be "judgemental" when individuals fail to meet the moral and
ethical standards they so loudly proclaim to others.

Based on previous form, I'm sure George would be screaming 'political
correctness gone mad!' and 'cultural relativism!' if this line was run in
defence of a kura kaupapa Maori teacher who found back-handing, gagging and
tying down naughty Maori boys a creative, effective and culturally sensitive
form of discipline.

I certainly won't hold my breath waiting for the truly politically-incorrect
column and letters decrying the "witch hunts" being run against the Police
officers who allegedly raped Louise Nicholls and various church-run
institutions up and down the country facing historical allegations of child
sex abuse."

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 5/21/2005 10:12:00 AM